The theme of Freedom in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Themes and Colors
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Society and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Religion and Superstition Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Freedom Theme Icon

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.

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Freedom Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Below you will find the important quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn related to the theme of Freedom.
Chapter 1 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Tom Sawyer
Page Number: 1
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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.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), The Widow Douglas and Miss Watson
Page Number: 1
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Chapter 5 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Pap, The new judge
Page Number: 17
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Chapter 6 Quotes

“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?”

Related Characters: Pap (speaker)
Page Number: 20
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Chapter 8 Quotes

“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.”

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 32
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“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’.”

Related Characters: Jim (speaker)
Page Number: 36
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Chapter 13 Quotes

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?

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mississippi River
Page Number: 54
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Chapter 16 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Jim
Page Number: 66
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So I reckoned I wouldn’t bother no more about [right and wrong], but after this always do whichever comes handiest at the time.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker)
Page Number: 69
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Chapter 19 Quotes

For what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards others.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Raft
Page Number: 94
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Chapter 31 Quotes

“All right, then, I’ll go to hell”—and [I] tore [my note to Miss Watson] up.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker)
Page Number: 162
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Chapter 43 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker), Sally and Silas Phelps
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
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