Huck and Jim both yearn for freedom. Huck wants to be free of petty manners and societal values. He wants to be free of his abusive father, who goes so far as to literally imprison Huck in a cabin. Maybe more than anything, Huck wants to be free such that he can think independently and do what his heart tells him to do. Similarly, Jim wants to be free of bondage so that he can return to his wife and children, which he knows to be his natural right.
The place where Huck and Jim go to seek freedom is the natural world. Though nature imposes new constraints and dangers on the two, including what Huck calls “lonesomeness,” a feeling of being unprotected from the meaninglessness of death, nature also provides havens from society and even its own dangers, like the cave where Huck and Jim take refuge from a storm. In such havens, Huck and Jim are free to be themselves, and they can also appreciate from a safe distance the beauty that is inherent in the terror of freedom.
That being said, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn implies that people can be so free as to be, ironically enough, imprisoned in themselves. The duke and the king, for example, foils (or contrasts) to Huck and Jim, are so free that they can become almost anybody through playacting and impersonation. However, this is only because they have no moral compass and are imprisoned in their own selfishness. Freedom is good, but only insofar as the free person binds himself to the moral intuitions of his heart.
Freedom Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.
The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer, I lit out.
The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could reform the ole man [Pap] with a shot-gun maybe, but he didn’t know no other way.
“When they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I’ll never vote again…I says to the people, why ain’t this nigger put up at auction and sold?”
“People will call me a low down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t agoing to tell, and I ain’t agoing back there anyways.”
“Yes—en I’s rich now come to look at it. I owns myself, en I’s wuth eight hund’d dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn’ want no mo’.”
I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for murderers, to be in such a fix. I says to myself, there ain’t no telling but I might come to be a murderer myself, yet, and then how would I like it?
Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he was most free—and who was to blame for it? Why, me.
So I reckoned I wouldn’t bother no more about [right and wrong], but after this always do whichever comes handiest at the time.
For what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards others.
“All right, then, I’ll go to hell”—and [I] tore [my note to Miss Watson] up.
But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.