"The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out." These words were spoken by Huck Finn in the beginning of the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. In saying this, Huck elucidates how at his point in his life, he lives with the Widow Douglas who has taken care of him in ways he is not used to. The Widow is giving him a respectable upbringing, one that Huck does not care for. His father was the drunk of the town he lived in and was basically abandoned until the Widow took him in. Due to his distain for the way he was being brought up by the Widow, he would on a regular basis, leave the house at night to sneak off and smoke his pipe. Throughout the book the reader learns of Huck's travels from the beginning where he ran away from his drunken father to the end where he ends up freeing Jim at Tom Sawyer's Aunt's house. Throughout Huck's adventure, he clearly proved to be the true hero of the novel. He showed this through his loyalty, bravery and intelligence.
Huck showed his heroism through his loyalty. After he ran away from his father, he stumbled upon Jim, who was the Widow's slave who ran away to avoid being sold and sent further South, further away from the freedom he so immensely wanted and his family who he desired to be reunited with someday. Huck had opportunity after opportunity to turn Jim in as he encountered many people, but he chose not to and stayed with Jim, helping him to get to the North, to freedom. Huck did not have a plan as to where he was going to end up. All Huck wanted was to get away from the father who had almost killed him and away from the Widow who was giving him an upbringing of which he did not want. Huck wanted his freedom just as Jim did. Staying loyal to Jim showed true character in being a friend despite the consequences that would be in store for Huck if they were caught. In a quote from the novel the text states, "It was a close place. I took . . . up [the letter I'd written to Miss Watson], and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right then, I'll go to hell"--and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming." This incident occurred when Huck made the decision to not turn Jim into the Widow by writing her a letter, giving away Jims whereabouts. This was the ultimate instance of loyalty. He fought off the guilt of hiding Jim in order to protect him so that Jim could reach freedom. Huck stayed loyal to Jim throughout the entire novel and showed true heroism.
Through Huck's bravery, he showed heroism. When Huck was kidnapped by his father and locked inside a cabin by the river, his drunken father repeatedly came home drunk and beat him. Huck was fed up with this unfair treatment, which he knew was wrong. One night, while he father was out drinking, Huck finally got his opportunity to make his escape. It was a great risk to attempt running away from his father, one that would take a lot of bravery to accomplish. Upon checking the lines outside the cabin for fish, Huck stumbled upon a canoe and carefully concealed it for later use. Huck killed a wild hog and spread the hog's blood on everything in the cabin. He upset the room to make it appear that there had been a struggle between Huck and the "killer." By staging his own murder, he was able to make his escape and landed on Jackson's Island. Taking these necessary steps to be able to escape from an unhealthy situation took a great deal of courage to do and an enormous amount of bravery. He was also brave enough to be able to make an escape on his own. If he had not have stumbled upon Jim along his way, Huck would have traveled the river and the long journey solo. He realized this upon his departure from his father's cabin and was not in the least bit afraid of what was to be done in order to make a safe escape. Had he not have run into Jim, he would have had the bravery to make the journey on his own. Not many people are capable of such characteristics and could accomplish the many things that he accomplished. Through this incredible bravery, Huck showed definite heroism.
Through Huck's intelligence, he showed to be a hero. Huck's instinctual distrust and his experiences as he traveled down the river forced him to question the things society had taught him. According to the law, Jim was the Widow's property, but according to Huck's sense of logic and fairness, it seemed "right" to help Jim. Huck's natural intelligence and his willingness to think through a situation on its own merits lead him to some conclusions that are correct in their context but that would shock white society. For example, Huck discovered, when he and Jim met a group of slave-hunters that telling a falsehood is sometimes the right course of action. Due to the fact that Huck is a child, the world seemed new to him. Everything he encountered was an occasion for thought. Due to his background, however, he did more than just apply the rules that he had been taught--he created his own rules. He showed a lot of intelligence in how he was able to escape from his father by faking his own death. Through his young mind, he realized through intelligence how wrong the situation was that he was in. He also used his intelligence to keep Jim from being discovered and virtually saved Jim's life. Huck showed through his intelligence to have heroism.
Through loyalty, bravery and intelligence, throughout the novel, Huck showed to be the true hero of the novel. His loyalty to Jim was a truly admirable in the way he stuck with Jim throughout the book and never abandoned him. He protected Jim and in return, Jim protected Huck. His bravery in the novel stood out in the occurrence when he had to escape from his drunken father. It took a great deal of guts to do something like that, guts that Huck obviously has. The intelligence that Huck has truly is a gift. He was able to think for himself throughout the novel and had a brain when it came to everything that occurred. These three great attributes all show heroism making Huck the true hero of the novel. He understood that he was entitled to his freedom and he knew the responsibility that was necessary to be able to achieve and keep that freedom. A quote from Bob Dylan describes best the character of Huck Finn, "I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom." This quote describes what a true hero is, who in the novel is clearly Huck Finn.