-As a coming of age character in the late nineteenth century, Huck views his surroundings with a practical and logical lens. -His observations are not filled with judgments; instead, Huck observes his environment and gives realistic descriptions of the Mississippi River and the culture that dominates the towns that dot its shoreline from Missouri south.
It is his literal, pragmatic approach to his surroundings and his inner struggle with his conscience that make him one of the most important and recognizable figures in American literature.
-Abstractly, he does not recognize the contradiction of “loving thy neighbor” and enforcing slavery at the same time. He observes the racist and anti-government rants of his ignorant father but does not condemn him because it is the “accepted” view in his world. Huck simply reports what he sees, and the deadpan narration allows Twain to depict a realistic view of common ignorance, slavery, and the inhumanity that follows.
Huck possesses the ability to adapt to almost any situation through deceit. He is playful but practical, inventive but logical, compassionate but realistic, and these traits allow him to survive the abuse of Pap, the violence of a feud, and the wiles of river con men. To persevere in these situations, Huck lies, cheats, steals, and defrauds his way down the river. These traits are part of the reason that Huck Finn was viewed as a book not acceptable for children, yet they are also traits that allow Huck to survive his surroundings and, in the conclusion, make the right decision.
-Because Huck believes that the laws of society are just, he condemns himself as a traitor and a villain for acting against them and aiding Jim. More important, Huck believes that he will lose his chance at Providence by helping a slave. When Huck declares, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell,” he refuses his place in society and heaven, and the magnitude of his decision is what solidifies his role as a heroic figure.
Quote 1) “All right, then, I’ll go to hell el.” [Huck, as he reaches a decision about his responsibility toward Jim. This passage symbolizes Huck’s gesture of sacrifice for Jim.]
Quote 2) “But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”
Aunt Sally’s intentions for Huck center around the upbringing that society thinks every boy should have: religion, clean clothes, education, and an indoctrination in right and wrong. Huck, however, has come to realize that the first two are useless and that, in reference to the third, he can provide a much better version for himself than can society.
The “territories,” the relatively unsettled western United States, will offer Huck an opportunity to be himself, in a world not yet “sivilized” and thus brimming with promise. Weary of his old life, Huck contemplates ways to continue living with the same freedom he felt on the raft. Huck’s break from society is complete, and before the dust from his adventures is fully settled, he is already scheming to detach himself again.