The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is civilization in the mind of Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,121 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

To Huck, civilization represents repression and lack of autonomy. It also represent the rule of women. To Huck, it is cluttered with rules and rituals that don't make much sense. As he puts it, about living with the Widow Douglas:

The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them.

On the river, in contrast, Huck experiences a sense of freedom. It's not that he lives a disordered life, but that he is in charge and can follow a routine that makes sense to him. As he describes it:

Here is the way we put in the time. It was a monstrous big river down there—sometimes a mile and a half wide; we run nights, and laid up and hid daytimes; soon as night was most gone we stopped navigating and tied up . . . Then we set out the lines. Next we slid into the river and had a swim,...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 588 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial