Maturation was portrayed in the American literature as an inspired growth of the childhood’s incorruptibility confronting the distasteful but absolute reality of adulthood. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the genuine American youth took the child’s inexperience to a new experience of maturity, resulting in an image of the insincerity and dishonesty of the adult world. The novel opens with Huck talking about himself. He is happy-go-lucky and rowdy, making fun of people and seeing them to be amusing. When his escapades expand to include moral issues raised for the first time, there is a deep-seated and immediate transformation in his perspectives, attitudes, and judgments; in short, Huck becomes more and more matured as his adventures spread out. However, this maturity slowly disappears when Tom Sawyer reappears.
Truth is a major theme concerned with maturation, and Mark Twain depicts in the novel that Huck achieves remarkable maturity with possessing the capacity to reveal the truth. Before Huck is a good liar, and he is quite skilled in creating convincing stories to escape trouble and punishment. Yet, as he carries on with his adventure, he realizes that lying is not the paramount technique at all times, and that telling the truth frees his guilt. This is shown when Huck accidentally becomes involved with the plan of the Duke and the King to deceive several girls. But Huck eventually feels guilty that he decides to tell the truth to one of the girls about the plan of the Duke and the King. Then he comforts himself: “I reckon a body that up and tells the truth when he is in a right place is taking considerable risks, though I ain’t had no experience, and I can’t say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here’s a case where I’m blest if it don’t look to me like the truth is better, and actually safer than a lie” (Twain 1912, 252). This remark means that Huck is starting to understand that honesty is a valuable and enviable human attribute. This signifies that he is attaining a stage of maturity where he can be truthful and act virtuously. In addition, Huck shows that he is concerned with other people when he sees the Duke and the King humiliated after attempting to con a big group of individuals. Huck says: “I couldn’t ever feel any hardness against them anymore in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human beings can be awful cruel to one another” (Twain 1912, 321). This statement really portrays how Huck is becoming increasingly perceptive and mature.
But these signs of maturity eventually fade away when Tom Sawyer comes back. Tom is shallowly about the playful life of a boy. Huck and Tom walk around the cave of Injun Cave; they exert a lot of effort to draw the attention of Becky Thatcher, and others. The partnership of Tom and Huck is very entertaining, but Tom’s childish behaviors simply cannot equal Huck’s insightfulness and maturity.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: P.F. Collier & Sons, 1912.