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How do freedom and justice work in Huckleberry Finn? I'm trying to evaulate some...

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lox2p03 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 22, 2007 at 12:58 PM via web

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How do freedom and justice work in Huckleberry Finn?

I'm trying to evaulate some points, but am a little unsure. I know the river is the means by which Jim and Huck travel, which is freedom from civilized society, but is there anything else to it? And justice is rightly served when the two thieves are caught for all the deceitful scams they did to the towns people.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 22, 2007 at 1:22 PM (Answer #1)

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Excellent job in addressing this question! The only point I would like to add is that with the increasing freedom that the river gives to Huck and Jim, we also see an increase in justice toward Jim on the part of Huck. Despite Huck's upbringing - being told his entire life that blacks are inferior beings - he is beginning to see Jim as a human being with feelings, just like himself. He struggles with this, but ultimately determines that even if it is a sin, he still needs to defend and protect Jim and treat him the same way he would want to be treated himself.

Check out the link below for some more great information on the themes of Huckleberry Finn!  Good luck!

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 22, 2007 at 8:26 PM (Answer #2)

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Yes, the river represents that journey toward Huck's moral development, which involves making right decision about Jim. His various experiences on the river enable him to decide that what civilized society says is right is not necessarily morally right. this is the turning point in the novel, and indeed the turning point in everyone's life:  the moment when we must decide to do what is right because we know it is right rather than because (only because) society compel us to do so.  Huck decides not to turn Jim thinking he might go to hell as a result, but if going to hell is the consequence for doing the right thing, he's ready to take the consequence.  And so the river does separate, but it is also a part of nature upon which he travels; it is a journey toward moral development which Twain puts in opposition to "civilized laws" of slavery.

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