Originally published in 1885, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been a staple in most high school repertoires and an American classic, but what if the book is becoming too outdated for contemporary readers to understand? Although the story of Huckleberry Finn took place in a setting more than one hundred years in the past there are and always will be universally understood themes in the book that would make it a worthwhile read even in the twenty-first century. The book focuses on coming of age, deep character development, and the issue of race as a judgment of character. These issues are those that are still very relevant to us and the reasons why The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an important text for classroom use.
Most books read in high school end up being stories of the coming of age time for the main character. For Huck Finn this is no exception. Throughout his journey along the river he changes as a person from being a boy to a man. He starts out as a carefree and uncivilized boy attempting to break free from the constrains of civilization. He takes nothing seriously and everything is a temporary pleasure for him. This attitude was clearly expressed when Huck and a few of the other boys meet with Tom Sawyer to discuss creating a band of robbers. Huck readily offers up Miss Watson, one of his guardians, as a sacrifice if he broke the rules. This earlier version of Huck didn’t think twice about killing off one of his loved ones. Later however, Huck’s morality develops and he matures into a thoughtful and loyal young man who understands such things such as “…it don’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience aint got no sense,” (175). It was a few moments like that in the book that show that Huck really came of age and that he had grown up and his character had really changed. The book is yet another coming of age phenomena that young adults can relate with and should read about. Huck’s very different lifestyle...
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