Huck Finn

This essay has a total of 2537 words and 10 pages.

Huck Finn


Throughout the Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) novel, The
Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn, a plain and striking point of view is
expressed by the author. His point of view is that of a cynic; he
looks upon civilized man as a merciless, cowardly, hypocritical
savage, without want of change, nor ability to effect such change.
Thus, one of Mark Twain's main purposes in producing this work seems
clear: he wishes to bring to attention some of man's often concealed
shortcomings. While the examples of Mark Twain's cynic commentaries on
human nature can be found in great frequency all through the novel,
several examples seem to lend themselves well to a discussion of this
sarcastic view. In the beginning of the novel, it would seem that
both Huck Finn and Jim are trapped in some way and wishing to escape.
For Huck, it is the violence and tyranny of his drunken father. Kept
in a veritable prison, Huck wishes desperately to escape. Jim feels
the need to escape after hearing that his owner, Miss Watson, wishes
to sell him down the river-a change in owners that could only be for
the worse. As they escape separately and rejoin by chance at an island
along the river, they find themselves drawn to get as far as possible
from their home. Their journey down the river sets the stage for most
of Mark Twain's comments about man and society. It is when they stop
off at various towns along the river that various human character
flaws always seem to come out. Examples of this would include the
happenings after the bringing on of the Duke and King. These two con
artists would execute the most preposterous of schemes to relieve
unsuspecting townspeople of their cash. The game of the King
pretending to be a reformed marauder-turned-missionary at the tent
meeting showed that people are gullible and often easily led,
particularly when in groups and subjected to peer pressure. The
execution of the Royal Nonesuch showed another instance of people in
society being subject to manipulation. The fact that, after being
taken by a poor show they sent rave reviews of it to their friends to
avoid admitting they had been conned showed that people in groups are
ever afraid of losing status, and will do nearly anything to protect
such. Both the King and the Duke, also, showed such a ridiculous
degree of corruptness that it is difficult to believe that all humans
aren't at least somewhat evil. Another point made by the author is
that of most men being basically cowards. A good example of this was
when Col. Sherburn shot the drunk Boggs and the townsfolk came after
Sherburn to lynch him. After Sherburn, one man with only a shotgun,
held off the immense mob and made them disperse, it was obvious that
no individual really had the courage to go through with the lynching.
The idea that people are basically savages, confined for the moment by
society, is shown in more than one instance, such as when the group
was preparing to hang Huck and the King over their plot to defraud the
daughters, or, more obvious, in the war between the Shephardsons and
the Grangerfords. The aspect of people being basically hypocrites is
seen at the beginning when Miss Watson displays a degree of
hypocriticality on insisting that Huck follow the Widow and become
civilized, while at the same time deciding to sell Jim into a hard
life down the river. A final point seems to be that Man is continually
fleeing from something. At the end, Jim and Huck found themselves at
the end of their journey, neither having anything left to run from as
Huck's father was dead and Jim was a free man. It would seem, then
that Huck and Jim had run a thousand miles down the river and ended up
where they had started from. From the above examples, one can see some
of the author's point in producing 'Huck Finn.' It is apparent that
Mark Twain wishes society to realize its shortcomings and the
limitations imposed by human nature. He realizes that people will not
change, but feels that they should be aware of who they are, of what
comes with this thing we call humanity. That is Mark twain's main
purpose in writing this novel.
The Battle of Huck
In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Huck faces the dilemma of embracing the discriminatory
ideology of the South as he simultaneously combats his inner consciousness. Searching for
a better way of life, both Huck, a freedom seeking youth, and Jim, a runaway slave, set
off downriver. Along the way they encounter many obstacles. Their initial association
eventually blossoms into a steadfast friendship, bypassing the practices of a racist
society, leading Huck to support Jim's escape.

Originally, Huck sees Jim more than less as a slave. During this time period, slavery is
incredibly strong in the South. In the eye of southern whites, blacks are the bottom rung.
Their acceptable place in life is to serve and meet the everyday needs of the Anglos,
merely property and nothing more. It is this common belief which influences Huck and helps
to shape his relationship with Jim. As a slave, Jim seems to be some what of a play toy to
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Their respect for him as a person is scarce. The two are first
portrayed in the book playing a practical joke on Jim. Although Huck mildly protests such
antics, he still persists with the trickery. As a result of their pranks, Jim creates an
elaborated version of the event, claiming to have seen witches and the devil. According to
Huck, this gives Jim a great arrogance when around other blacks. Jim is "most ruined for a
servant" (page 16). Consequently, Huck continues to view Jim as a slave, but a slave at
the higher end of the spectrum. Jim may be a slave, but to Huck, he is more respectable
than most.

As time passes, Huck develops an appreciation for Jim, viewing him as a friend, not a
servant. The first instance where Huck truly demonstrates his concern is when Jim
confesses that he has runaway. Guilty conscience and all, Huck promises to reveal the
secret to no one. He sympathizes with the situation, after all, he too, is on the run.
Later on, Huck shows further loyalty toward Jim after returning from town under the alias
of "Sarah Mary Williams". After finding out that Jim is being pursued, Huck returns to the
island insisting on that the two of them leave immediately. "Git up and hump yourself,
Jim! There ain't a minute to lose. They're after us!" (page 68) Huck also hides Jim under
a quilt in the canoe to prevent any trouble with slave hunters. At one point in the story,
Huck's conscience is so heavy that he is in fact contemplating turning in Jim. His mind of
course is changed after hearing the profuse, thankful shouts of Jim from aboard the raft,
" ...you's de bes' fren Jim's ever had; en you's de only fren' old Jim's got now." (page
93) Huck plays the role of Jim's protector, his earthly guardian angel.

A large portion of Huck's attitude toward slavery has been shaped by society. His mutated
outlook originates from the day he first came into existence. Slavery was as much a part
of everyday life in the nineteenth century as the computer is in today's world. Slaves
were viewed as an asset, not valued as people. They were necessary in executing the
smallest of tasks. Being as these were the principles Huck had grown up with, he knew no
other way of thinking. Huck's conscience ultimately interrupts his corrupted perception.
After battling with his conscience for an extended period of time, Huck finally comes to
the realization that Jim is the best friend he has ever had. This is further emphasized
when the king and the duke sell Jim back into slavery. Once again, Huck feels his
conscience nagging at him and is off to rescue his comrade. Even in the beginning of the
book it is apparent that Huck has a conscience. He is reluctant to participate in the
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