Huckleberry Finn

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Huckleberry Finn - 1036 words

Mark Twain's masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn through much criticism and denunciation has become a well-respected novel. Through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy, Huckleberry Finn, Twain illustrates the controversy of racism and slavery during the aftermath of the Civil War. Since Huck is an adolescent, he is vulnerable and greatly influenced by the adults he meets during his coming of age. His expedition down the Mississippi steers him into the lives of a diverse group of inhabitants who have conflicting morals. Though he lacks valid morals, Huck demonstrates the potential of humanity as a pensive, sensitive individual rather than conforming to a repressive society. In these modes, the novel places Jim and Huck on pedestals where their views on morality, learning, and society are compared. Huckleberry's first encounter with physical perplexity comes when he has woken up alone: " I set up and looked around, a little scared.

Then I remembered" (Twain 240). Awaking from his accidental nap, he was stunned by the sudden realization that he did not know where he was. After gaining full awareness of his surroundings, he was once again calmed. Another illustration of Huck's physical disorientation was when he was found in a "solid white fog" (269). During his separation from Jim, Huck confessed that he "hadn't no more idea which way I was going than a dead man" (269). While he was still had not united with Jim, he suffers from another bout of confusion

"First I didn't know where I was; I thought I was dreaming" (270). This exemplifies how Huck's mental disquietude melted into the physical realm. Throughout his voyage down the Mississippi, Huck has various arguments with Jim, which force him to question the facts that he has been taught from a white society. These serve as metaphors addressing different beliefs that are disputed amongst the rivaling races. Huck and Jim quarrel about "King Sollermun" (Twain 266), who threatened to chop a baby in half. Jim debates that Solomon had so many children that he became incapable of valuing human life.

Huck then defends what he believes to be "de wises' man dat ever live'" (266) by explaining to Jim that he has "'clean missed the point'" (267). Huck's subsequent comments relate Jim's conclusion about Solomon and his view of white treatment of blacks as infinitely replaceable bodies. Instead of bickering, Huck "went on talking about other kings, and let Solomon slide" (267). Shortly after, they commence a new discussion when Jim asks, "Why, Huck, doan' de French people talk de same way we does?" (Twain 267). Huck tries to explain the language barrier by pointing out that cats and cows, two fundamentally different creatures, do not communicate the same way, and by the same logic, neither should Frenchmen and Americans, two fundamentally different cultures. However, Jim challenges the equivalence of the comparison on the basis that both the French and the Americans are men, making the analogy unsound. His argument is an additional indication that in this society not all men are equal. Their numerous deliberations show that both Jim and Huck are clever, but the former is less constrained by conventional wisdom than the latter, who has grown up in conservative white society.

Whereas Huck, through introspection, comes to his own conclusions, Tom, Huck's foil, surrenders himself to dogmatism, gathering his opinions and knowledge from misunderstood Romantic novels and teachings from Sunday school. In their first encounter, Tom admits that he has derived all of his of ideas from popular, fictional books that he has read. Fascinated with fancy language, contracts and scandalous acts, Tom stresses that literature must be preserved even at the expense of human dignity. While Tom places great importance in fictitious models, Huck is guided by empiricism. He seems to be excessively pragmatic for his age, relying on only what he can see, never on faith. In later chapters, while Huck and Tom are deceiving the Phelps to liberate Jim, the boys ensnared in their absurd imaginations, almost forget their goal. Jim's realization that he is being used as an object to fulfill the boys' yearning for adventure is underscored when Tom asks, "You got any spiders in here, Jim?" (Twain 387). When Jim responsed by "No, sah, thanks to goodness I hain't" (387), Tom resorts even further to the idea of having a rattlesnake for a pet.

This demonstrates how enthralled Tom and Huck are in their game that they forget Jim is still a human being. At this point the boys appear to be no better than those who are slave owners. Huck, who is typically a rational thinker, apparently abandons his principles by neglecting his friendship with Jim in order to pursue a fanatical game. This episode taints Huck's previous sainthood, leaving the audience unsure of the strength of Huck's convictions. Throughout the novel Jim and Huck's relationship is a symbiosis. Starting from the day they met, Huck manages to obtain a gun, a canoe and other food necessities, while at the time, Jim only has a knife.

Separate they are incapable of surviving, but jointly they offer each other provisions, shelter, and security. Though this mutual bond begins as a superficial engagement, the union in time grows to deeper levels. On many occasions Jim teaches Huck to reexamine his past beliefs that he has misguidedly taken for granted. For instance, when he says that Huck is "de on'y white genlman dat ever kep' his promise to ole Jim" (Twain 282), Huck is made to abandon his past ethics and convert to the "handiest" (283) way, which is described to be the one his conscience so chooses. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has captivated worldwide audiences because it reflects the true southern American morals of the nineteenth-century. The story of an adolescent boy traveling down the Mississippi River with a slave is in opposition to everything that was then honorable, which, in turn, has made it more alluring.

An exploration of morality couched in an adventure tale, Twain not only entertains but also enlightens the reader. At times Twain's reference to white society's negligence may come across painfully didactic, nevertheless he intertwines humor to lighten the teachings. WORKS CITEDTwain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Norton Anthology of American Literature Vol.

C. Nina Baym. New York; W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2003. 1069.

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