Discuss the concept of man vs society that is so prevalent in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The young character named Huckleberry Finn is a Twain masterpiece in terms of creating someone to exemplify the conflict of man versus society.  Finn is a youngster residing in the lowest echelons of white society, yet this supposedly civilized society has done nothing to protect Finn from a drunken, abusive father.  Finn is a survivor, however, and he has managed to develop an intellect that dares to harbor independent thoughts in spite of the Widow Douglas's ill-fated attempts to "civilize" him and the overarching Southern social code that requires him to look down on blacks.  The man versus society theme begins to develop as Huck travels further down the river getting to know Jim; as his prejudices begin to dissolve, Huck begins to see Jim as a real person, an equal person, with the same hopes, fears and dreams that he himself has.  Thus, and ironically, as Huck matures and becomes a person of greater character, his conflict with society deepens, rather than dissolves, as he slowly comes to the realization that "civilized society" often is not civilized at all, but rather just the opposite. 

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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