In the name of "Sivilization"What reasons does Huck have at the end of the novel for not going back to live with the Widow Douglas?  His friends are there, and he will most likely become used to...

In the name of "Sivilization"

What reasons does Huck have at the end of the novel for not going back to live with the Widow Douglas?  His friends are there, and he will most likely become used to her way of life as he did before and with the Grangerfords.  Why does he ditch "siviliaztion" in order to "light out for indian country"?

Asked on by amy-lepore

9 Answers | Add Yours

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Huck has changed and grown through his adventure. If I were him I'd be a bit sick from those experiences, having seen so much hypocrisy and fraud - often in the name of society and civilization. Heading out for the territories makes sense. There, perhaps, the moral freedom he realizes he needs can be found.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am not sure I know that he does not go back.  Just because he says he won't does not mean he really won't.  Although he does enjoy freedom, it wears on him to be constantly running.  He is pretty independent, but I still wonder where he would go and what he would do?

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Liberation and nature vs society are two key themes from this excellent text, and Huck, especially in the middle part of the novel when he floats down the river with Jim, has a series of different encounters that shows the stupidity and foolhardiness of society. Constantly, Huck is forced to question the supposed rules and wisdom of society by the situations he encounters and his own common sense. Often, society is found wanting. Thus, having learned this lesson, the last thing he wants to do is return to be "sivilised" after he has done so much to escape it.

slchanmo1885's profile pic

slchanmo1885 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is about a quest for freedom. Jim is searching for freedom from slavery, and Huck is searching for freedom from society, with all its conflicting messages and ethically questionable people. If Huck were to return to St. Peterburg at the end, he wouldn't have had found freedom at all, but would be returning to almost the same situation that he was in the beginning of the novel.

dbello's profile pic

dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

One of the gifts that Mark Twain gave to humanity was the ending of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. For anyone who reads the novel, there is an opportunity to grab on to its magnificant insight. Twain created Huckleberry because he understood that although 'us Americans were full of issues' we were also capable of 'the answers'. For those that 'get it' in the name of 'sivilization', Huckleberry Finn with all his shortcomings and contrary to popular belief, a part of him resides in most of us.

cmcqueeney's profile pic

cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I think by the end of the novel Huck's knowledge of what civilization is has changed.  In the beginning, he is merely concerned with Miss Watson and the Widow making him sit up straight, go to school, go to church, etc.  By the end of the novel, Huck has had more experiences with civilization, and they have not been good ones.  "Civilization" would have hung Jim for running away.  Civilization allowed Sherburn to shoot Boggs and allowed the feud between the Grangerfords and the Sheperdsons.  Civilization fell for the schemes of the King and the Duke and then tarred and feathered them when they finally caught on.  Tom Sawyer with his cruel pranks was supposedly more civilized than Huck Finn.  

Huck's decision at the end of this novel represents his new found knowledge and his growth.  Twain has shown the cruelties and hypocrisies of society giving Huck a new more worldly and "mature" definition of what it means to be civilized, and being the character whose conscience won't let him pray a lie, he runs away from it all. 

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I've always thought the very idea of someone telling him he had to sit up straight, stop smoking, stop cussin, go to school, go to church, and be a decent boy was the only cause he needed to pack up and leave.  The only people he's had before that have tried to tame him are the Widow and Miss Watson - and Miss Watson tried to use the fear of hell to motivate him.  It's just the prospect of having to fall in line again that drives him away.  He has another chance to live an adventure and see what happens, and it doesn't take him a second thought to jump on it!

He knows that Miss Watson has died, though, so she won't be there anymore to torment him.  He knows this since in her will she freed her slave, Jim.  Only the Widow Douglas remains, and Huck thought she was all that was "good and decent" in the world.  It stands to reason that he would have had a considerably more pleasant time in the home without Miss Watson's bitter and "hell and brimstone" take on life. 

For another thing, he and Buck Grangerford sat up straight, said their prayers, went to church, and would have gone to school had it not been summer vacation when Huck stayed with them.  They dressed nicely, and were "tamed" all the same.  Am I wrong?

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I've always thought the very idea of someone telling him he had to sit up straight, stop smoking, stop cussin, go to school, go to church, and be a decent boy was the only cause he needed to pack up and leave.  The only people he's had before that have tried to tame him are the Widow and Miss Watson - and Miss Watson tried to use the fear of hell to motivate him.  It's just the prospect of having to fall in line again that drives him away.  He has another chance to live an adventure and see what happens, and it doesn't take him a second thought to jump on it!

rlendensky's profile pic

rlendensky | Student, College Freshman

Posted on

The main theme of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn truly is the quest for freedom, as slchanmo1885 said. Huck escapes from Widow Douglas and Jim escapes from his master. It is an essential escape tale. For the entire novel to be resolved, Huck Finn can't be tied down, he must be free, as must Jim. For Huckleberry Finn to return to Widow Douglas would not only be foolish, but it would be contradictory with the novel's main theme.

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