Mark Twain's Huck Finn, the true sign of maturity?

Essay by Paul Hanson November 1996

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'To live with fear and not be afraid is the greatest sign of maturity.' If this is true, then Mark Twain's Huck Finn is the greatest example of maturity. Huck is the narrator of Twain's book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the book Huck, a young boy from the American South, travels down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave. The two encounter many adventures and meet many different people. Along the way, not only does Huck mature, but he also becomes a kind and loyal person, sometimes going against the values of society. This is shown through his many experiences with the Duke and the King, the Peter Wilk's scam, and Jim.

Huck displays his kindness when he picks up two strangers and lets them travel with him and Jim. 'Here comes a couple of men tearing up the path...They begged me to save their lives and wanted to jump right in...I

says:...Wade down to me and get in.' (19). These two men are complete strangers, and Huck knows that they are being chased, so they are obviously troublemakers. Yet he takes them in, and welcomes them aboard, showing great compassion. Later, the two men lie to Huck and Jim. Huck does not say a thing, though he realizes they are lying. 'But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble...I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would keep peace in the family.' (19). It is now clear to Huck that these men are not going to be a blessing to him and Jim. Still, he never says a thing, and just wants to have a friendly atmosphere between all of them. He goes as far as to refer...