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Essay/Term paper: The true sign of maturity

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Mark Twain

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The True Sign of Maturity

"To live with fear and not be afraid is the greatest sign of maturity." If this is true, then Mark Twain's Huck Finn is the greatest example of maturity. Huck is the narrator of Twain's book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the book Huck, a young boy from the American South, travels down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave. The two encounter many adventures and meet many different people. Along the way, not only does Huck mature, but he also becomes a kind and loyal person, sometimes going against the values of society. This is shown through his many experiences with the Duke and the King, the Peter Wilk's scam, and Jim.
Huck displays his kindness when he picks up two strangers and lets them travel with him and Jim. "Here comes a couple of men tearing up the path...They begged me to save their lives and wanted to jump right in...I says:...Wade down to me and get in." (19). These two men are complete strangers, and Huck knows that they are being chased, so they are obviously troublemakers. Yet he takes them in, and welcomes them aboard, showing great compassion. Later, the two men lie to Huck and Jim. Huck does not say a thing, though he realizes they are lying. "But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble...I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would keep peace in the family." (19). It is now clear to Huck that these men are not going to be a blessing to him and Jim. Still, he never says a thing, and just wants to have a friendly atmosphere between all of them. He goes as far as to refer to them as family. Huck even treats liars with kindness and concern.
More of Huck's kindness is shown during the Peter Wilk's scam. He feels bad for the three daughters, because the Duke and the King are trying to take their late father, Peter's, money. While talking to the eldest daughter, Mary Jane, Huck establishes himself as a kind and compassionate person in general. "Miss Mary Jane, you can't a-bear to see people in trouble, and I can't--most always." (28). This shows that, no matter who the person, Huck can not stand to see anyone go through pain. Later, in the same situation, Huck becomes close to these girls and can not bear to see the two frauds take advantage of the girls any longer. Huck resolves to expose the two. He says to Mary Jane, "I got to tell you the truth, Miss Mary...These uncles of yourn ain't no uncles at all; they're a couple of frauds."(28). Although Huck has not known the Wilks' girls long, he still has a kind heart toward them. In terms of society, Huck should keet allegiance to the two frauds, because he has known them for a while and they are treating him well. However, Huck is able to foresee the pain that this will cause the girls later. Such kindness is rare in a human.
Finally, Huck displays not only kindness, but great loyalty, towards his best friend, a runaway slave named Jim. This man is not even seen as a person in Huck's society. After staging his death and running away to Jackson's Island, Huck runs into Miss Watson's "nigger", Jim. Soon after, Huck inquires about how Jim came to be on the island. Jim replies cautiously, and Huck promises not to tell anyone about it. So Jim tells him. "Well...I-I run off...Remember, you said you wouldn't tell." (8). In this society, the greatest sin is to be an abolitionist. Huck is well aware of this. Nonetheless, he remains loyal to Jim throughout the novel. At one point of the story, after Jim has been sold by the Duke and King, Huck needs to decide whether to go after Jim or not. During a great moral debate, Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson, telling Jim's whereabouts. Soon after writing it, he feels bad about his decision. He thinks hard, then makes a decision. "I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then I says to myself: 'All right then, I'll go to Hell'-and tore it up." (31). This is extremely significant. After debating throughout the novel about Jim, Huck makes a decision of complete loyalty, even if it means Hell.
In conclusion, Huck is a true, mature friend of kindness and loyalty. In dealing with his friends, he sometimes debates about which choice is the right choice, but always picks the noble one, even if it isn't socially acceptable. He has faced fear-to the extent of Hell-and, in the end, has not been afraid to be a true friend. That is one of the greatest signs of maturity.

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