America... land of the free and home of the brave; the utopian society which every European citizen desired to be a part of in the 18th and 19th centuries. The revolutionary ideas of The Age of Enlightenment such as democracy and universal male suffrage were finally becoming a reality to the philosophers and scholars that so elegantly dreamt of them. America was a playground for the ideas of these enlightened men. To Europeans, and the world for that matter, America had become a kind of mirage, an idealistic version of society, a place of open opportunities. Where else on earth could a man like J. D. Rockefeller rise from the streets to one of the richest men of his time? America stood for ideals like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. People in America had an almost unconditional freedom: freedom to worship, write, speak, and live in any manner that so pleased them. But was this freedom for everyone? Was America, the utopia for the millions of common men from around world, as great as the philosophers and scholars fantasized?

America, as a society, as a country, and as a leader was not as picture perfect as Europeans believed. The United States, under all the gold plating, carried a burden of unsolved national problems, especially racial. The deep scar of slavery had left a dent in the seemingly impenetrable armor of the country. From the times of early colonization to the late 19th century, Africans had been brought over by the thousands in overcrowded and unsanitary slave ships and sold like cattle to the highest bidder, an inhumane and despicable act that America, land of the free and home of the brave, allowed to happen. Why? Slavery is what the plantation society of the South thrived on. The South’s entire economic system was built upon the shoulders of the African slave. Too precious and dear to let go, the South held on to this institution until the Thirteenth Amendment was signed in by Lincoln in 1865. In this hypocritical society is where The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn finds itself. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an epic story of the journey of a redneck boy and a runaway slave, escaping the grips of society in the hope of a chance at the freedom they long for so dearly.

The novel’s author, Mark Twain, also grew up in this society. Samuel Clemens, Twain’s birth name, led a life that had a great influence on the works that he produced later in his life. Born in Florida, Missouri, Clemens’ childhood was filled with adventures much like those found in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Following his childhood experiences, Clemens worked on steamboats on the Mississippi River up until the river was closed during the Civil War. The war opened his eyes to the issue of slavery, which shows up in many of his works, including Huckleberry Finn.

Huckleberry Finn takes place when slavery was very much a part of Southern culture and society, nearly thirty years prior to the Civil War. Since the institution of slavery was such a stronghold of Southern society during Huckleberry Finn, Huck’s helping bring Jim to freedom makes him an outlaw. In James Wright’s "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" published in Great Writers of the English Language: American Classics in 1991, Wright clarifies for the reader that "Huck in helping Jim, was not only going against the moral codes of the South, but was going against strict written law" (14). Since helping a runaway slave was written law, Huck’s helping Jim signifies Huck making a conscience decision to rebel openly against society. In Walter Blair’s "So Noble... and So Beautiful a Book" published in Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1968, Blair suggests, "In those slave-holding days, the whole community was agreed as to one thing – the awful sacredness of slave property" (70). The unity of the Southern society in regard to slavery is what made it so difficult for the United States to rid itself of it. Slavery was in fact, sacred, and to go against this evil religion was taboo. "To help steal a horse or a cow was a low crime, but to help a