Identify a theme that links to both American History and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that one of the most dominant themes in the novel that ties into American History is the notion of freedom.  As Twain shows much in the world of Huck Finn as contextual and passing, freedom seems to be the one absolute that unites people.  Jim and Huck both experience the desire and need for freedom even though their conditions are diametric opposites.  The work defines the idea of freedom as something intrinsic to America, something that underscores the essence of national being.  Freedom seems to be something that Twain is suggesting exists in our DNA, something that defines our very being.  The historical presence of freedom and the element that brings both Huck and Jim to the same understanding about it.  Freedom and the need for it is something that represents both the characterizations offered in Huck and Jim and is also something that represents American History.  In being able to connect a theme from the novel to the experience embedded in American History, Twain is able to construct a narrative that spans both disciplines and develops a greater understanding of American History and its predicament.


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