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Huckleberry’s Education

The book Huckleberry Finn can be interpreted in many different ways. Even though at the beginning of the book it says not to over-analyze the story, people still do, all the time. Huck Finn escapes school, along with other things, to run away from the society that he was living in. He did learn some useful things in school, that came in handy in his journey. Learning to read and write helped him a lot throughout the story. Overall though, Huck has gotten a better real-life education on the river with Jim and the many people that he had met than he could have in school. Huck is not the kind of person who needs to be very well educated to do well in life. So long as he can understand how to work with people, which is the very thing that he learned the most in his trip, he will be all right without a formal education.

At the very beginning of his journey, his “street” smarts are obvious. Knowing things like why they were searching for his dead body with bread, for example, is something that he would not have learned in school. There is little question as to whether or not he could survive on his own. He would have been able to without much problem. But what makes it obvious that he does not need a formal education is the fact that throughout the book he learns things that he uses in life.

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“Well at last I pulled out some of my hair, and bloodied the axe well, and stuck it on the backside, and slung the axe in the corner. Then I took up the pig and held him to my breast with my jacket (so he couldn’t drip) till I got a good piece below the house and then dumped him into the river…”. This quote is from fairly early on in the story when Huck is escaping from his father. His dad was an alcoholic who frequently beat Huck and treated him more as property than as a son. He had taken Huckleberry to live with him in a little cabin and locked him in. In order to properly escape from his dad Huck had to trick him, and the rest of the village into thinking that he had died, so they wouldn’t search for him so much. He does a very good job. Using the common sense he has and the natural intelligence, he fooled the whole town full of adults and children into thinking that he had been drowned or something in the river.

The things that he learned in school could not have helped him there, knowing what to do, to make it look like he had been drowned was something that Huck learned in some other situation.

One plain example is his relationship with Jim. Huck is not so think-headed that he cannot relate to Jim. In that time when he was growing up, he was taught that black people were dumb, and that white people were better than them. By the end of the book, he respects Jim as another human being. He even says that he is “…white inside…”. This shows that he does not need people to teach him skills, to live with. If he can come such a long way from the racist views that he grew up with, in such a short period of time, he is conceivably smarter than most of the adults. Huckleberry Finn has gotten enough reading and writing skills for his lifestyle.

Tom Sawyer is Huck’s good friend that he has from the town where he grew up. Tom is a very imaginative boy if you can call it that. He thinks up all kinds of plans and schemes that don’t actually make any sense. “Tom Sawyer called the hogs “ingots,” and he called the turnips and stuff “julery,” and we would go to the cave and powwow over what we had done, and how many people we had killed and marked. But I couldn’t see no profit in it.” Huck will have fun with these games, but obviously, he is a little more clear-headed than Tom Sawyer is on these kinds of things. If Huck needs to, he will think of the simplest way, and the easiest to do things. He doesn’t find sense in trying to make things more complicated than they really are. Because of this, he is always clear-headed when in tight spots, and will not freak out. That’s one more thing that Huck has, which has, and will help him in life.

Throughout the book, Huck Finn learns more and more useful things about everyday life and people. These are things that will help him as he grows up, and when he really needs to bargain with people, and relate. Grammar and writing didn’t matter half as much then as it does today, a lot of the people in that book were not properly educated, and they were doing fine. Naturally, Huck Finn is an intelligent boy, and he does not need to be civilized or sent to school anymore.

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Huckleberry's Education. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved July 11, 2021, from