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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, how does Huck react to "sivilization?"

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obeycece | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM via web

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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, how does Huck react to "sivilization?"

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM (Answer #1)

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Huck Finn is a staunch individualist, and he doesn't like the idea of "sivilization," which he views as constrictive and unnatural. Because of his upbringing -- alone, without mature influences -- he more enjoys being left alone to fend for himself, regardless of the outcome. His brushes with civilized life tend to be negative, with adults consciously and unconsciously revealing their selfish antagonism. Despite the great wealth that Huck receives (from the previous book), he is not mentally or emotionally mature enough to use it to his own advantage; he instead wants to live off the land as he has grown accustomed. At the end of the book, Huck states:

...Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.
(Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, gutenberg.org)

His experiences with the varied evils of civilization, despite his other varied good experiences, have proved to him that he is not meant to live as a citizen of a society. He is fundamentally resistant to authority, regardless of the meaning or purpose, and he is far more happy when he is able to make his own way.

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