A journey is more than just movement from one place to another. It is about learning and growth. In this essay, it will attempt to discuss this statement with reference to the focus text, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a novel by Mark Twain, Journeys over Land and Sea, Item 6 from the Stimulus Booklet, Rabbit Proof Fence a film by Phillip Noyce and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The focus text is a story of a boy's adventure down the Mississippi River during the 1840's. The main character, Huckleberry Finn with a runaway slave named Jim float down the river (symbolic for knowledge and freedom) on a raft. The novel is told in a first person narrative by the major character himself, Huck, using his own dialect.
Huck runs away to Jackson's island which is in the middle of the river and it is here he learns that Jim, Miss Watson's slave, has runaway after overhearing that she is thinking about selling him "Ole missus tell the widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans". He also learns that Jim has more talents and intelligence than he had been aware of- Jim being superstitious knows all kinds of signs' about the weather, bad luck and the future. Huck also visits a woman in a little town and comes to learn that people are looking for Jim and hence forced to leave the island.
During their journey down the river, Huck reads about dukes and kings to Jim, which foreshadows the time when they are going to meet the Duke and the King. However, from this conversation leading onto whether Solomon was a wise man or not and why French people don't talk the same as English people, Huck learns that he can't argue with Jim. "You can't learn a nigger to argue. So I quit."
Another learning experience for Huck while on his journey, is that Jim, even though he is a "nigger", has feelings just like any other human being. He finally learns this when he plays a mean trick on a Jim. They get separated in the fog and when Huck finally finds him, he is asleep and plays on his mind by convincing him that it was all a dream. It is not long before Jim finds out Huck was lying to him, "En all you wuz thinking bout wuz how you would make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie." So he becomes very deeply disappointed by the way Huck treated him, which revealed to Huck that "negros" have emotions and feelings, which becomes a learning experience for Huck. "It made me feel so mean I could almost kiss his foot to get him to take it back."
As Huck's journey continues down the river, he meets the Grangerford family. During his stay with them he comes to learn about their feud with the Sheperdson family. He also learns that the original reason for this bitter disagreement between the two families has been forgotten, which is ironic and yet they still fight one another. "They don't know now what the row was about in the first place." What is also ironic is that both families enjoy a sermon on brotherly love but see no message for themselves to follow. "Everybody said it was a good sermon."
What Huck also learns from this feud is how love is stronger than hatred- a member from both families elope together. Also, Huck observes how the two families slaughter one another, which shows the extent to which they would go to because of their hatred. "Kill them, kill them!' It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree."
Another learning experience for Huck is when he and Jim meet with the King and the Duke, he learns how people can be liars, have no morality and exploit other people and still feel no guilt about their actions. "It didn't take me long to make my mind up that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs mad frauds.
We have seen the dramatic change in the personality of Huck, the person he was before he went on his journey down the river is not the person he was at the end of his journey. "I do believe he [Jim] cared just as much for his people as white...
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