Imperfection and Perfection: Do we have criteria for being free?
All people come from different walks of life which each one of us must admit. People were never made into perfection in this world but we amidst of this truth, if we trace back our history, there are instance, perhaps major situations which comes down into superiority because they thought they were far better, far more important and perfect than others. In Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, a sequel of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the author did it again. Narrating a story that appeals to human emotion and intellectual nerves, the adventures of Huck was indeed a good eye opener about perfection and imperfection. Slavery, Racism and Freedom are three words with different meanings connected to each other by people’s actions toward one another, a make shift in the battle of life, these three were the tales to be told in the book supporting history and tracing what is a lot better between perfect and imperfect.
The story behind the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
In this story, Twain was able to make a serious character out of Huck which draws him into talking about slavery and the problem of the South. However, in his goal to match or surpass the success of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he did not release it because it was the air of post civil war era has so much to promise about abolition of slavery. In early 1880s when the people lost their hope again since there was nothing good happening bout slavery, it was a good time to release Huck to the people.
Because this book clearly contradicts with the views of the southerners, it was banned and it had a lot of critics. Some people questioned Twain’s use of the word “nigger” in the book which on the author’s perception was just the reality of the scene and the situation. Realism was the real reason why such work was produced. There was a motive of telling the truth which the southerners did not like.
In present, Huckleberry Finn and his adventures is still famous, it was even transformed into cartoons, which were translated into different languages, which made Huck even famous. Even kids know him but what lies in his story was not just a simple adventure of a child. It was a journey of finally finding who he is and what he is.
A parade of themes
Despite of being a child’s story, the adventures of Huckleberry Finn was also a story for grown ups with grown up themes. Basically, since the main motive of the author was to talk about slavery and the south, there is a touch of racism and slavery itself but at the same time, the book holds with in the pages the story of freedom. Also, intellectual and moral education counts and the hypocrisy of the people who call themselves civilized.
These themes were the main turning points of the story which are given life by the characters. In the eyes of a child perhaps, an attitude being showed by the elders matters a lot but when it turns into hypocrisy, is it still good? These were only few among the things discussed in the book.
The chosen three
There are different themes present in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and the most common among these lists of themes were Racism, Slavery and Freedom. The book was released in a perfect timing when slavery, racism and oppression came to life again after it was put on hold after the civil war.
Although the chosen themes to explore are quite common already, it is still powerful because racism, slavery and freedom belong not only in our history but also in our everyday lives. Everyday we seek independence, we go after freedom and with each passing day, we avoid racial discrimination.
These were the themes which ask nothing from us but understanding and assurance that we will learn something from it. Many people may wonder why we are choosing these themes when all along we can talk about hypocrisy and moral education and focus on the life of Huck but we did not do it because we look after the importance of these three topics which on the other hand was the same treason why there was a change in the perception Huck and helped him mold his personality.
Racism and Slavery: The door into the world of hatred, serving with a bunch of sufferings
Racism is always linked with slavery because they were two things which is a result of the other. When there is racism, there is slavery and when there is slavery, there is racism. Racism is an act of discrimination which was very popular although the history of not just the United States but several other countries. On the other hand, slavery is a custom, a tradition which was put in act by the people especially the southerners.
In the book, the most common victim of racism is no other than Jim who was a good man but did not even had the chance to feel free because he was a slave but despite of this, he remains a good man with a good heart. He took care of Huck when they were on their journey (Twain, n.pag.). Who could have said that the person being discriminated would help the person who was part of his sufferings?
Racism and slavery were not unique ways but a common tradition which bring sufferings to the people especially those who belong in the black race. Perhaps what happened to Jim was somehow a symbolism of what was happening to the remaining population of Black Americans on the time of the release of the book.
Chasing away Freedom
Sometimes the more we chase something we long to have, the more it stays away. In the case of Jim and Huck, it was evident that before they finally reached the freedom they both wanted. Earlier in the story, Huck was adopted by a woman and they teach him to be “civilized” which he do not like. He said: “Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome. By-and-by they fetched the n__ in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to bed” (Twain, 3). Thus, there is a hint that he did not like what he was doing and the idea of changing himself was not a good idea for him.
Aside from the people who adopted him, he also wanted to escape from his father who beats him and gives him sufferings. In the end, he chased his freedom despite of encountering circumstances which could lead to his dead. He later on met Jim during his escape, who, like him was also trying to escape in order to be free. Both of them wanted to have freedom and like a raft, they sailed freely.
Conclusion: Away with Freedom and absence of Slavery and Racism
We don’t know what is actually in store for us, whether we live a perfect life by enslaving other people and holding back their freedom or by living an imperfect life with no slaves to cook your meal or to do the household chores with a friend who will stick with you until the end. Life is unfair in many ways but at the same time life offers us so many things we do not cherish that much and just waste it forever.
In one of Huck’s realization, he said: “It hadn’t ever come to me before, what this thing was I was doing. But now it did; and it staid with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to make out to myself that I warn’t to blame, because I didn’t run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn’s no use, conscience up and says, every time, “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody” (Twain, 92). From these quote, it was sure thing that they did not look after the perfection of life but what they should have. They were in search of freedom and finally it comes to them… and it is sweet.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Novel Guide.com. http://www.novelguide.com/huckleberryfinn/themeanalysis.html
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Sparknotes.com. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/huckfinn/context.html
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York; Signet Classics, 2001.