Essay Preview: Huckleberry Finn
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In Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck is a person to be admired. We see Huck develop in character, attitude and maturity as he travels down the Mississippi River. This is represented through Hucks search for freedom from “sivilisation” and through his personal observations of a corrupt and immoral society. Most importantly, his caring attitudes and honesty prove that he is a great person. Huck Finn is a dynamic character that changes during the course of the novel. Although Huck can be seen lying, cheating, and stealing, he does these things out of necessity and as a result of his poor upbringing.
As the novel begins, Huck is presented as a boy that does not have any education about the world that he lives in. By searching for freedom from “sivilisation”, Huck has learned to act on the bases of his instincts and rely on his intelligence to overcome obstacles instead of enduring the ways of society. Huck can sometimes be a miscreant, but he is honest with himself and his feelings. It is this honesty that helps him make difficult decisions that often contradict the views of society. However, it is Hucks realistic and naive view of society that makes him to be honest and see things for what they truly are. One example of this is when Huck helps Jim to freedom. His acceptance of Jim as a person instead of a property marks the beginning of his maturity. Although he does not view his action as honorable, but the reader can infer that it is. Huck was bought up in a world where slavery was normal so when he becomes more and more of a friend to a runaway slave, he feels guilty for his role in Jims escape so he condemns himself as a traitor and a villain for acting and aiding Jim knowing that he was doing something society would have scorned. In the novel, he says,
I couldnt get it out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to
troubling me so I couldnt rest; I got to feeling so mean and miserable I
most wished I was dead (Twain 88).
According to Henry Nash Smith, Huck is outraged by the Kings hypocrisy (368). Huck is a person of his own free will and is troubled by doubts and conflicting impulses. (368). In order to show his disgust towards the King, he jeopardizes his own well being and also the chances of freedom for Jim to help the orphan girls from the tricks of their fake uncles. Hucks decision to help the orphan girls is an example of him showing his compassion towards others while he is faced with problems of his own.
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