The Mississippi Essay, Research Paper
In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck lives in two different settings. One of the settings is on land with the widow and with his father and the other is on the river with Jim. There are many differences of living on land as opposed to living on the Mississippi River. On land, Huck has more rules to live by and he has to watch himself so as not to upset the widow or his father. On the river, Huck didn’t have to worry about anything except people finding Jim. He also had to worry about the king and the duke for a while. Even thought there are many differences of the two living styles, there are also some similarities.
Life on land was filled with difficulties for Huck. There were many rules that Huck had to follow for both the widow and for his father. The widow didn’t really have many rules. She just wanted to "civilize" him. The widow expected Huck to go to school, wear clean clothes, sleep in his bed, and go to church. She just wants him to be like a normal child of his age. Even though Huck bends the rules a bit, he eventually grows to like living with the widow. He proves this point when he says, "Living in a house, and sleeping in a bed, pulled on me pretty tight, mostly, but before the cold weather I used to slide out and sleep in the woods, sometimes, and so that was a rest to me. I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones, too, a little bit." (Clemens 1211) Then Huck’s father kidnapped him and took Huck to live in a cabin with him. Huck thought that it was fun, but he started to get sick of being locked up for long periods of time. He began to get sick of his father getting drunk and beating him. He says, "But by-and-by pap got too handy with his hick’ry, and I couldn’t stand it. I was all over welts. He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in." (Clemens 1216)
Life on the river was also good at first, but soon it became tiresome for Huck. He liked the sense of freedom that he had while he was on the river with Jim. He didn’t have to go to school nor did he have any rules that he had to live by. He didn’t have to worry about what his father was going to do to him. Jim and Huck could only travel at night because they were afraid of Jim being found and whenever they would stop for the day, they would have to cover up the raft with leaves and foliage. Huck did not like having to be the one that would have to go look for food and water for them and he didn’t like having to use such precautions so that Jim would not be found. The main reason that Huck did not just turn Jim in is because Huck thought of Jim as a friend.
These two living conditions were not very similar; there were a few similarities that can be found. The first similarity is how each living situation started out easy, but became hard and tiresome for Huck. Though living with the widow started out hard and became easy, the similarity is the change for the opposite difficulty than what the difficulty was to start with. Another similarity is that Huck is not happy with wherever he is. He was not happy at the widow’s because of all the rules nor was he happy at his father’s because of the beatings that he received. Though this could be said about any living situation, the problem is exaggerated in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Though there are many difficulties in all of the living situations that Huck has experienced, the easiest one for him to deal with was the one with the widow. Even though he did not like abiding by her rules, at least he had a place to sleep and food to eat. Huck liked being his own boss on the river, but he also liked the comfort that he got from the widow. He also liked the freedom that he thought he had at his father. However difficult each situation, the easiest and best situation is usually the most apparent one.