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Active Determined Dreamer

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Huckleberry Finn is not an escapist, but a free spirit who only wants to live deeply disentangled from the bonds of society. An escapist is someone who flees from his/her responsibilities, while a free spirit is a person who knows no boundaries, and cannot be tamed by society.

It may appear at first that Huck is an escapist, for he enjoys not having to go to school when living with his father. He escapes from the cabin and his father's abuse; however, he escapes from his father's cabin out of the necessity of survival, not because he didn't want to accept responsibilities. Even though Huck did enjoy fishing and relaxing in the sun during his stay with Pap, it wasn't the responsibility that he was escaping, but the rules that society had imposed on him. Huck didn't mind learning new things and being knowledgeable, but he did not like to get dressed up, to have to go to school, to be well behaved and polite, and to learn good manners. "I was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishingÐ'...and my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didn't see how I'd ever got to like it so well at the widows where you had to wash and eat regularÐ'...It was pretty good times up in the woods there, take it all around." (p. 31) Living in the woods is harder work, having to catch food and build fires to stay warm, but Huck doesn't mind work as long as he can do it how he wants to.

Huck is always going against society and cannot live by its rules. Society told him it was wrong to help a runaway slave, but when he paddled out to go turn Jim in he just couldn't let himself. He decided that he didn't care what society thought was right, and that staying true to Jim was the best thing to do. "I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it warn't no use for me to try to learn to do rightÐ'...Then I thought for a minute, and says to myself hold n; s'pose you'd Ð''a' done right and give Jim up, would've you felt better than what you do now? No says I, I'd feel badÐ'...Well, then says I, what's the use you learning to do right when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong." (p. 95) His spirit is free and uncorrupted by the prejudices of society. By listening to his heart, Huck makes a good choice. He still takes responsibility for his own actions although not according to the standards put on him, but by those he puts on himself. He is no longer as selfish, as he becomes more mature he learns to respect other peoples' feelings and needs. Even though he doesn't want to live in their world, Huck still has feelings for the people he meets and cares for.

Traveling down the Mississippi is heaven for a free spirit like Huck. Surviving on their own terms Huck and Jim "borrowed" vegetables and hunted for meat. " We shot a water fowl now and then



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