Twain, through this novel, reveals a boys initiation into manhood. Hucks existence on the raft
teaches him about life as it really is. Whenever he goes on shore, he sees the cruelty of society
and mans inhumanity to his fellow man. When he returns to the raft, he feels the peace of nature
and the nobility of the black slave that shares his journey.
Southern society has taught Huck that slaves are sub-human creatures with no feelings, only a
piece of property to be bought and sold. At the beginning of the novel, Huck buys into this
philosophy without question. He cannot believe that he is helping “a nigger” escape to freedom.
It is against everything he has been taught (and he knows Tom Sawyer could never do it.) Huck
is amazed to learn that Jim cares deeply about his family, just as a white person cares for his (and
more than Pap ever cared for Huck.) He is even more amazed that Jim can have his feelings hurt
when Huck plays a trick on him. He
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