In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck symbolizes maturity by learning from past mistakes. Huck rethinks his former actions and makes decisions for the better based on the mistakes he has made. Huck first reveals his maturity by intrepidly helping the gang on the steamboat, feeling “ruther comfortable” about going through “all this trouble” for the gang, wishing the widow knew of his actions as he believes she “would be proud” (86). Making a mature decision to do the right thing is supported with the knowledge that people who are close to one would be supportive of one’s actions. On the island, Huck plays a prank on Jim that ends horribly, so he decides afterwards that he would do “no more mean tricks” especially knowing that the tricks “make Jim feel that way” (98). The knowledge that one is hurting a friend makes the realizing of one’s mistakes weigh with heavy guilt, and make one quick to grow out of their past decisions. When Huck helps the king and the duke steal a large amount of money from the sisters, he ends up feeling “ornery,” “low down,” and “mean,” driving him to go against his former actions, as well as the two con artists, by deciding to “hive that money” for the sisters “or bust” (188).
When one feels down by a mistake one made, they will often make up for their actions by going against oneself and even others to fix it. While saving Jim, Huck sees that the king and the duke covered “all over tars and feathers,” though instead of feeling joy for the con artists deaths, he expresses his sorrow and can not hold “any hardness against them” (245). Maturity is clear when one ignores ties and not holding resentment against people who have wronged oneself when those people are given an immoral death. Huck’s maturity is grown throughout his journey by his mistakes and most importantly, his understanding that he made a mistake in the first place. Often times, growth and maturity can only be attained by realizing and making up for one’s mistakes.