What is Mark Twain's message in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Mark Twain's main message in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is that freedom and independence matter more than the superficial values of civilized society.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a complex work, regarded by many as the greatest American novel. Twain employs the protagonist as an innocent but thoughtful and often incredulous commentator on a wide range of human folly, and there are many messages in the book. The subjects of these messages include prejudice, tolerance, deceit, and loyalty.

However, if Twain has a single central message, it is one about the importance of freedom and independence. Huck and Jim have little money and few possessions. They are often in danger, which, in the case of Jim, a runaway slave, could scarcely be more threatening. Despite this, the book has an atmosphere like no other, with a sense that Jim and Huck's life as they float along the river is genuinely appealing in its simplicity and self-sufficiency.

It is in this atmosphere of freedom, rather than any overt didacticism, that the book's message lies. At the beginning of the novel, Huck is fortunate by conventional worldly standards. He is wealthy and respectable, the social superior of many who recently looked down on him. However, he is not happy with his fine clothes and fine house. Even being kidnapped by his abusive, alcoholic father is a step up from respectability. When he escapes from Pap, it does not occur to Huck to return to the Widow Douglas. All he wants is freedom.

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