The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Initiation is the main idea, in other words the major theme. In an initiation narrative, the protagonist, who in this case was Huck Finn, goes through a rite of passage, a growing up process, which is multifaceted. In a moment of crisis, the protagonist is suddenly obliged to make the painful and alarming transition from childhood to adulthood; this passage is known as the initiation. The initiation is the protagonist s first step or movement into a new beginning. It is essentially a process by which the hero gains self-knowledge and finds his own identity. In the process, he also learns about the world in which he lives and the nature of evil.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is a novel about growing up. Huck not only runs away from his father, he also undertakes to make it on his own. Before he can, he has to go through rites of passage, which will allow him to enter the adult world. Helping a slave to escape is one of these rites, since it forces Huck to make decisions about right and wrong, decisions that will determine the kind of adult he will be.
The entire novel is structured around the theme of initiation. Huck s floating down the river on a raft with the runaway slave, Jim, is a rite of passage. It is during this journey that the great moral crisis in Huck s life occurs; he must choose between his social conscience and individual conscience. He has to make the painful decision as to whether he is going to give Jim up to the slave hunters (as society would have him do.) or help to remain a free man (as his own conscience would have him do). He refuses to give Jim up.
In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The author, Mark Twain, depicts the horror of slavery through the character Jim. In the story, Huck s antagonist is the society and its customs that allow slavery to exist, that treat the Negro society as second-class citizens, and that live in hypocrisy. Twain obviously felt that slavery was the ultimate example of man s inhumanity to his fellow man. In this novel, the relationship between man and his fellow man was very negative.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a symbol about good and evil. Huck (main character) represents the forces of good, and most of the people he meets represent evil. Although he does not win all his battles against evil, he never gives in to it. The ending of the book is a pessimistic statement about man s ability to overcome evil. Huck overcame that evil, and went through his rites of passage.