Essay 1 (Freedom Quest) - 1 Engl. 224, Sec. 19 Dr. Adam...

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1Engl. 224, Sec. 19Dr. Adam Gussow20 February 2014Topic 2: Freedom QuestAlmost 150 years ago, the United States emerged from the most significantinternal conflict in its history and began transitioning into a period known asReconstruction. This was a time of triumph for those who had championed abolition forfour long, agonizing years of civil war; though equality was far from reality, federal troops inthe South guaranteed African Americans safety and voting rights. However, the Hayes-Tilden Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction and ushered in a new time reminiscentof old prejudices. During this low point in American history, appropriately referred to as the“Nadir,” our nation suffered great regress in the promotion of equality, and freedom was aterm open to interpretation. This tumultuous social atmosphere is reflected through thework of Mark Twain, a Southern author who pioneered a style of writing contradictory tothe genteel tradition. In his fictitious novel,Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,Twain followsthe epic journey of a troubled young white boy named Huckleberry Finn and his companionJim, a runaway slave. Together, this unlikely pair unites in a freedom-quest to escape thepressures of a “civilized” society; detached from humanity, Huck and Jim find a life of choicein their pastoral idyll setting of the open Mississippi River, slowly carrying them towardtheir expectations of freedom.While they find common ground in their quests for autonomy, it was notmutual circumstances that drove these characters to escape life in St. Petersburg, MO.Huckleberry Finn grew up in extreme poverty with his drunk, abusive father, Pap, who
2regularly abandoned the boy. During one such absence, Huck was introduced to society

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