Huckleberry Finn is Twain's story of a child's passage from youth into adulthood, but it is also an allegory about America's passage into maturity. Twain's problem, though, was that he could not devise a happy ending for his hero. Can Huck ever get clear of his culture's racism, greed and perverse romanticism? What psychological obstacles does he face? What feat must he accomplish to make a happy ending possible? Remember that Twain himself did not think he had any answers.
Find a thesis which interprets Twain's novel as both a psychological study and a political allegory.
What vision of America emerges as Huck and Jim drift South? What is at the root of America's problems according to Twain? How can they be overcome? Is a happy ending possible?
Kentucky: The Grangerfords and the Stephensons (Chapters 17 and 18 (pp. 117-134))
Huck and Jim on the Big River (135-137)
Scamming Twain's America with The Duke and The Dauphin:
Turning in Jim:
Twain's Ending: What was he
Slave Hunt, Dismal Swamp, Virginia, 1862
by Thomas Moran
Eastman Johnsonís Ride for Liberty ó
The Fugitive Slaves, March 2, 1862 (1862)