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Essay on Identity in Huckleberry Finn

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The Development of Identity in Huckleberry Finn


In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry , by Mark Twain, the main character enters into a transitional period of his life. This character, Huck Finn, faces many situations in which he is forced to deal with decisions that foster with in them the ability to bring about change. Since transition is the process of entering change, Huck is searching for an identity which is truly his own. In determining his self image, Huck deals with conformity and freedom, trying on different identities that do not belong to him, and enveloping and shaping these new found attributes into an identity which best suits his "deformed conscience."

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn begins with Huck under the care of Widow Douglas. Since Huck is so used to being unencumbered, "He sees the widow Douglas' protection solely in terms of confinement"(WHIT 156). This is unacceptable to Huck because he, "loses his freedom amid 'the bars and shackles of civilization"(WHIT 156). According to Susan Harris, "the sensory world exists beyond the narrow conventions of the human community and it is the place for the regeneration of the soul"(78). To put it in simpler terms Huck belongs out under the stars where he will not be bound by the community.

The next impedance in which Huck is faced with is the untimely return of his drunkard father. His father was merely stopping through to steal money from his son. So since he did not care for his son much, Pap did not feel the least bit inclined to treat his son with any respect. So Huck once again faces confinement, except this time it is in a log cabin. This time, "the only release is escape, flight and effacement of the identity through which bot...


... middle of paper ...


...s own, and enveloping and forming these new found attributes in to a an identity which best suits his "deformed conscience."

III Body

Huck versus Conformity-Freedom

* 1.Huck's stay with Widow Douglas

* 2.The flight from Pap

* 3.The Raft

Trying on Different Identities

* 1.Huck's "Death"

* 2.The beginning of Huck's quest for himself

* 3.Other examples of characters from the novel

Deformed Conscience(Good vs. Bad)

* 1.Huck's religion

* 2.Huck and Jim

* 3.Huck needs a family

IV Conclusion

Huck encounters various situations in which he learns to adapt and react to each situation in a way he feels suitable. Through these experiences Huck learns and overcomes boundaries. Huck combines his learned knowledge into an identity which suits him and thus creates a conscience with which he is comfortable.



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