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    A Journey Towards Maturity And Identity Essay

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    Life itself is a journey full of bonding and experiences which lead to wisdom andunderstanding. Without maturity one may never have these life teaching experiences. Thisleads to an empty shell of a person never truly feeling passion, love or peace. In theAdventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck Finn is trying to find purpose andidentity through his moral battle with society, while Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in theRye by J.D. Salinger is an adolescent struggling to mature into manhood.

    In comparisonthey are both on a journey towards maturity and identity. Holden and Huck are similar intheir threshold crossing, road of trials, and flee and return(Crispell 43). The threshold crossing is the place or the person that the character crosses over orthrough into the zone unknown, being the place where journey into self discoverybegins(Crispell 43).

    Many times the call to their adventure includes going by desire,chance, abduction, or by being lured by an outside force. In the Adventures ofHuckleberry Finn, Huck is forced with the dilemma of whether to stay with his father andcontinue to be abused or to leave. Huck leaves because he desires to begin his journey. Healso realizes that he will be forced to choose between his morals and his conscience, and willhave to decide which of these morals to hold true(Rubenstein 23). Huck also witnesses asymbolic death.

    He sets up his fathers cabin to look like he was brutally murdered. Heemerges from this as a runaway child and now must be careful of what he does so that hedoes not get caught. He tells people false aliases for himself so that no one knows his trueidentity. Every time Huck does this, he is symbolically dying and reemerging a moreexperienced person. At this point, Huck is now on his way to begin his journey into selfdiscovery.

    Just like Huck, Holden also crosses over into the zone unknown, but starts hisjourney in a different way. Holden Caulfield is a very privileged kid. Throughout his life, his parents were ableto send him to wealthy private schools hoping he would mature and begin to learn moreabout his own self. His call to adventure comes because he is mentally torn betweenexperience and innocence. It would seem to him that an outside force is luring him to dosomething, but in actuality he is beginning his journey because of his desire. It is evidentthat Holden cares nothing about school and about his own education.

    He wants to leave sohe can begin the journey of self discovery and escape the phoniness that surroundshim(Gordon 2043). Holden’s symbolic death is very similar to Huck’s. Holden also usesfake names, but he symbolically dies through fainting, changing the position of his redhunting hat, and his association with bathrooms. The bathroom motif, or the reoccurringappearance of the bathroom, symbolizes death for Holden because he enters bathroomswith a neurotic and pragmatic frame of mind and exits with a cleared mind.

    The symbolicdeath is what gets Holden and Huck onto their journeys and into the road of trials, wherethey experience many things that will change them forever. The road of trials is where most of the characters journey takes place(Crispell 43). It is on the road of trials that the character begins to experience different obstacles that willchange his life forever. For Huck Finn, his learning adventure takes place on theMississippi River. Huck finds freedom on the river and it is here that he truly learns abouthimself.

    However, he still faces problems with moral decisions of right and wrong andhelping a runaway slave to achieve freedom. Huck’s traveling companion is Jim. As anti-society that Huck is, you would think that he would have no qualms about helping Jim. However Huck has to have feelings that slavery is correct so we can see the ignorance ofracial bigotry. Huck and Jim’s journey begins as Huck fights within himself about turningJim over to the authorities, but he decides not to.

    This is a monumental decision because itshows that Huck has decided to turn his back on everything home stands for, and thathis true moral identity is slowly shining through. Even though Huck has made his decisionabout Jim, early in the voyage we see Huck’s attitude change towards .

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