The Journey to the South
In Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Twain commits himself to the truth behind the journey of the protagonist, Huck. This journey takes the duo of Huck and Jim, who is a slave, to the South from Missouri to Arkansas. In their quest for moral and racial freedom, it seems strange on the surface as to why they did not simply cross the river to the free state of Illinois as opposed to following the Mississippi River to the Ohio River originally but ending up travelling to Arkansas. However, Jim and Huck could not just cross the river due to the Compromise of 1850, and the fact that the incumbent senator of Illinois was Stephen Douglas. This ultimately forced them to travel South, and brought into view the possible realization that the ‘free’ states were no more free than the ‘slave’ states and the questionable aspects of slavery altogether.
According Thomas C. Foster in his books “How to Read Literature Like a Professor”, he explains that, “The real reason for a quest never involves the stated reason… The real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge.” (Pg. 3). As we see in Twain’s novel, the real reason for Huck and Jim’s journey to the south was not only for Huck to run away from Pap, and for Jim to run away from being sold as a slave, but also for Huck to run into the idea that a black man is as morally sound (if not more decent) as any white man he has ever known. And as for Jim, he comes to understand that he loves Huck as much as his own family, and it does not matter to either of them that their skin colors are opposite of each other. The only times we see their skin colors come into play is when they are not on the river, and when they become involved with other people, such as the Duke and the King. Mark Twain uses this to effectively point out that without the societal pressures and infections of racism found in both “slave” and “free” states, the color of people has nothing to do with that of people’s...
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