Huck Finn Essay

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4/25/11
Actions speak volumes of character. While words are used to convey emotion, action is what determines character. In Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he emphasizes the relationship between characters’ actions and their moralities. Ironically, Huck and Jim, the novel’s social pariahs, represent the moral fiber of this novel as they defy predefined racial boundaries and learn to trust and even love each other. Tom Sawyer, Huck’s well off, socially accepted counter part and literary foil, is a manifestation of selfishness and corruptness, despite being of a higher class than Huck and Jim. As the novel is plot driven, Twain establishes the characters’ morality through their actions, and ultimately asserts that it is character, not class, that determines integrity.

Huckleberry Finn, for whom the novel is named after, is the protagonist of the story. In the beginning Huck is portrayed as a troubled boy with a questionable past. Since Huck’s father was an alcoholic and abusive, Huck lived with Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas. Society looked at Huck as if he were “that kid”, the kid who causes trouble, who is uneducated, and the kid to pity. However, Huck’s intelligence and moral superiority to those who surrounded him is proven when he chooses to keep Miss Watson’s slave, Jim, in hiding instead of turning him in. When Huck decided to do the morally correct option of keeping Jim safe, even though he could be sent to jail, shows what kind of character Huck is.

Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, at first glance seems to be superstitious to the point of idiocy, but later on, the time that Huck and Jim spend on Jackson’s Island reveals that Jim’s superstitions conceal a deep knowledge of the natural world and represent an alternate form of “truth” or intelligence. As Huck and Jim make their way down the river, Jim becomes a surrogate father to Huck, taking care of him without being intrusive or smothering. Jim cooks for the Huck and shelters...
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