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  • Racism and Slavery
  • Education
  • Freedom
  • slavery placed the noble and moral Jim under the control of white society. “good” white people such as Miss Watson and Sally Phelps express no concern about the injustice of slavery or the cruelty of separating Jim from his family.
  • Childhood
  • Huck has learned to “read” the world around him, to distinguish good, bad, right, wrong, menace, friend, and the rest. As far as an actual education, Huck had one but he did not want it.
  • Lies and Cons
  • On the raft, away from civilization, Huck is free from society’s rules, able to make his own decisions without restriction. Jim is free from everyone who wanted him dead but still has to be careful.
  • The Mississippi River
  • Huck often knows better than the adults around him, even though he has lacked the guidance that a proper family and community should have offered him.
  • Duke and the King. It is clear that these con men’s lies are bad, for they hurt a number of innocent people. Yet Huck himself tells a number of lies and even cons a few people, most notably the slave-hunters, to whom he makes up a story about a smallpox outbreak in order to protect Jim.
  • The Mississippi River is the ultimate symbol of freedom. Alone on their raft, they do not have to answer to anyone. The river carries them toward freedom: for Jim, toward the free states; for Huck, away from his abusive father and the restrictive civilizing. Much like the river itself, Huck and Jim are willing to change their attitudes about each other.
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