Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel
about a young boy's coming of age in the Missouri of the mid-1800's. The
main character, Huckleberry Finn, spends much time in the novel floating
down the Mississippi River on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim.
Before he does so, however, Huck spends some time in the fictional town of
St. Petersburg where a number of people attempt to influence him.
Before the novel begins, Huck Finn has led a life of absolute
freedom. His drunken and often missing father has never paid much
attention to him; his mother is dead and so, when the novel begins, Huck is
not used to following any rules. The book's opening finds Huck living with
the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Both women are fairly old
and are really somewhat incapable of raising a rebellious boy like Huck
Finn. Nevertheless, they attempt to make Huck into what they believe will
be a better boy. Specifically, they attempt, as Huck says, to 'sivilize'
him. This process includes making Huck go to school, teaching him various
religious facts, and making him act in a way that the women find socially
acceptable. Huck, who has never had to follow many rules in his life,
finds the demands the women place upon him constraining and the life with
them lonely. As a result, soon after he first moves in with them, he runs
away. He soon comes back, but, even though he becomes somewhat comfortable
with his new life as the months go by, Huck never really enjoys the life of
manners, religion, and education that the Widow and her sister impose upon
Huck believes he will find some freedom with Tom Sawyer. Tom
is a boy of Huck's age who promises...