A subject of discourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; This is a theme. Themes play a huge role In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, where a young character named Huck runs off when not knowing what to do with himself due to having no home besides with his drunk of a dad, who attempts to kill him. This causes the teenaged boy to undergo many adventures that cause him to show his true self, force him to mature quickly, and truly develop his character. The book was written in 1984, and does a great job of portraying United States and really connecting everything that was going on, giving the reader a true understanding of the time period; the book, being written so long ago, still remains a classic to this day. While at first it appears that the novel was written to display racism in the time period, if the reader goes into the deeper meaning one can see that there is much more to it than that. In, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, there are numerous, notable themes that can be pulled out that are all caused by society.
The first and most obvious theme to depict from the book is racism: The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Even though Mark Twain wrote this story after the abolishment of slavery, the book is set shortly before, when slavery was still legal. Many characters in the novel such as Miss Watson, the Grangerfords, etc. are slaveholders, and don’t fully understand what it’s like to be a slave. The slaves such as Jim are taken advantage of, physically abused, and mentally abused; the white folk rationalize this behavior by convincing themselves through stereotypes that African Americans are inferior to the white race. “‘It warn’t the grounding-that didn’t keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder head.’ ‘Good gracious! Anybody hurt?’ ‘No’m. Killed a nigger.’ ‘Well it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.’” (Twain 221). It’s sad to admit this was America’s past, but slaves were literally considered property. The only reason a slave owner would care if anything happened to one is because it would cost them money, just as any owner of an object such as a someone dropping their phone and cracking the screen. “Well it’s lucky because sometimes people do get hurt”, even after the boy clearly says a slave was killed, the woman disregards it saying they are lucky no one got hurt. Slaves were not even considered human beings! They were completely dehumanized simply because of the color of their skin, and the novel clearly portrays this through the theme of racism
A second, and very prominent theme in the novel, is human cruelty. This is the actions of human beings that cause suffering or pain upon something. This can often be seen in the novel through not only racism, but also animal abuse, domestic violence, some types of crime, and many more actions of human beings. The townspeople were cruel people, and, “There couldn’t anything wake them up all over, like a dog-fight --- Unless it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog, and setting fire to him, or tying a tin pan to his tail and see him run himself to death” (Twain 140). This shows the reader just how cruel, sick, and twisted our species can be. Twain included this quote in his writing to show that society hasn’t changed, and some individuals still influence the continuation of cruel activities such as these in the modern day. People often resort to causing human cruelty to something when they are angry or in an emotionally difficult place, and cope with their feelings by passing negative feelings to someone else. The emotions they are experiencing, that cause the individual to turn to human cruelty are most likely was caused by society. Human instinctive qualities will most likely never change no matter what time period; this being said, it has always been true that most of the time, when something is suffering, we tend not to care unless it is ourselves, which could also be considered selfishness. Some great examples of this is when one passes someone who is pulled over on the side of the road by a police officer. The average driver would feel glad and relieved that it’s not himself, and wouldn’t even stop to think of what it’s like in the other person's shoes who got pulled over. This shows societies’ selfishness that then causes the cruelty that can be seen in both the novel, and real life; Thus proving society is the cause of the theme of human cruelty
Huck’s maturity is another theme seen in the story and it increases more and more as the story goes on. The time period in the book was a difficult time to grow up in, and Huck’s childhood was directly affected by the time period through