Childhood is an important part of life that is a factor for development and motivation. The experience of making mistakes and fixing them to learn is through childhood. Only a child is open minded enough to undergo the kind of development he or she needs. In the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck’s youth is an important factor in his moral education. This novel follows the adventures of a young boy named Huck, and a runaway slave who travel on a raft down the Mississippi river. Huck is a thirteen year old boy forced to survive on his own and come to his own conclusions about important things that happen in his life. Twain uses the motif of childhood to develop the theme of maturation and development in his main character Huck, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Huck has to make choices and decisions for himself. Huck matures when he has to make his own decisions on stealing. He has this elaborate plan to steal money from the king, and came up with this plan all by himself. “No, there aint no good way but one. I got to steal that money, somehow; and I got to steal it some way that they won’t suspicion that I done it”(Twain,189). Huck has to be mature about this situation and find out a way that no one will think it was him that stole the money. “I’ll steal it, and hide it; and by-and-by, when I’m away down the river, I’ll write a letter and tell Mary Jane where it’s hid”(Twain,189). Huck hid this money in a coffin, and this is a big decision he has to make with hiding money in such an odd place. In order to pull putting the money in the coffin off, Huck does this in a mature way and he develops from this experience of coming up with a plan, following it, and pulling it off. Huck also made the decison to help Jim, a runaway slave, escape. Huck feels like he has stole Jim from his owner because everyone in the town are all talking about stealing peoples property. Along the way down the Mississippi river, Huck steals a lot of things, but this is a part of childhood. He develops when he knows which things will be useful to their journey of Jim escaping, like a canoe, and develops maturity through this.
Hucks encounters with society on the Mississippi river helps to mature him. On the start of hucks adventure, Huck comes in contact with slave traders. He sees the slave traders and thinks what they are doing is wrong. Huck debates with himself when the slave traders want to come over to speak with him. “Well, I just felt sick. But I says, I got to do it-I can’t get out of it. Right then, along comes a skiff with two men in it, with guns, and they stopped and I stopped”(Twain,102). Huck has a choice, either to sell Jim to the slave traders and recieve money from them, or keep Jim. Jim is Hucks friend and he wants to save him more than he needs money. Huck makes the decison to lie to the slave traders when they ask him who is on his raft. “What’s that, yonder? A piece of raft, I says. Do you belong to it? Yes, sir. Any men on it? Only one sir. Is your man white or black? I didn’t answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn’t come. I tried, for a second or two, to brace up and out with it, but I warn’t man enough-hadn’t the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and says- He’s white”(Twain,102) Huck is debating with himself over if he should give in or save his friend. This helps Huck to develop because he is put on the spot with no time to think and it is a mature way for Huck to handle this type of situation.
Hucks final development of maturing is his understanding tat conning people is wrong.The duke and the king, being the con men that they are, decide to pretend and be the two missing brothers in attempt to steal the family’s money. Unfortunately for them, the Wilks are very likable young women, and Huck just can’t stand by and let the duke and king take the girls money. Huck starts to like Mary Jane, the oldest of the group. “I’d rather not tell you where I put it, Miss Mary Jane, if you don’t mind letting me off; but I’ll write it for you on a piece of paper, and you can read it along the road to Mr. Lothrop’s, if you want to. Do you reckon that’ll do? Oh, yes. So I wrote: I put it in the coffin. It was in there when you was crying there, away in the night. I was behind the door, and I was mighty sorry for you, Miss Mary Jane”(Twain,204). In the end, Huck realizes he has done wrong and wants to fix what he has messed up. Another way Huck matures is when he explains he hears shooting and noise the night of the escape and wanted to see the fun, so he goes out the window and down the lightning-rod on the side of the house, and from there he re-tells the story he had told earlier to Uncle Silas. Huck feels so guilty about causing Aunt Sally to worry that he decides not to sneak out and see how Tom is doing even though he wants to. Every time Huck tries to sneak off to check on Tom, he looks back and sees Aunt Sally sitting up with her candle burning and looking worried and he feels so guilty he goes back to his room via the lightning-rod. He swears to himself he will never do anything to cause Aunt Sally pain again. This shows how he is matured beacause he does not like the way they are conning the Wilks. Huck also developed by the way he reacted to Aunt Sally’s pain.