The Maturation of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn begins with Huck introducing himself. He is wild and carefree, playing jokes on people and believing them all to be hilarious. When his adventures grow to involve new moral questions never before raised, there is a drastic change in his opinions, thoughts, and his views of "right and wrong", and Huck's "rejection of the values of society has tried to instill in him" (Wright 154). By the time the book is over, it is apparent that he has matured greatly since the beginning of the novel. Certainly the people and events Huck comes in contact with through his adventures causes this change, which include: Jim, the Duke and the King with the Wilks' family, Pap and the Widow Douglas, and the time spent with the Grangerfords. The person who affected Huck the most was Jim. Jim was Huck's companion throughout the entire journey. At first Huck considers Jim only as a "nigger" because of the way he was brought up, yet Jim is much more than a stereotypical slave and Huck develops a deep feeling of loyalty toward him. During their adventure together, Huck always feels a duty to reveal Jim's identity as a runaway slave, but is held back when he remembers Jim's kindness and integrity "Jim would always call me honey… and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was" (Twain 95). An example when Huck questions his morals and helps Jim is when they are traveling down the river when they come across men who are trying to capture runaway slaves. To resolve this problem Huck implies to the men that his father (actually Jim) has smallpox. Huck also eventually decides that his values overrule religion (by ripping up the note to Miss Watson to inform her about Jim), even though religion is still a force that should be though about. In his eyes, he is going to go to hell and suffer eternally because of helping Jim escape and not returning him back to his "owner". He realizes that Jim is more human than he was led to...
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