Huck Finn Literary Criticism

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 186
  • Published : March 28, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain portrays his main character and the novel’s namesake, a deeply complex individual, even as a child. He has obvious abandonment issues and continues to struggle with finding his place in society. Huck starts by trying to fit in with Tom and a band of young boys, but eventually finds true companionship in a slave named Jim. Huck continues in his struggles as his moral beliefs conflict with the moral beliefs of the society of his time. This conflict comes from Huck being so immersed in a society that he does not seem to belong in, all while still trying to find a place that he does belong. According to Harold Bloom and Leslie A. Fiedler, “The moral crisis of the book is created by the constant disjunction in the mind of Huckleberry Finn between what he thinks he ought to do, and what he is aware that he must do” (Bloom and Fiedler 25-39). This is seen throughout the novel, as Huck struggles with following society or following his heart. Another critic, Gemma Marshall, makes a point very similar to Bloom and Fiedler, saying, “Through the character of Huck and his internal debates, we see the conflict between what is morally right and what is legally enforced” (Marshall). At one point in the novel, Huck, himself, says:

[The Widow Douglas] told me what she meant--I must help other people, and do everything I could for other people and look out for them all the time, and never think about myself.... I went out in the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn't see no advantage in it--except for the other people; so that at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it any more, but just let it go. (Twain) This statement, which completely supports the views of both critics, does not come from Huck being a selfish individual. Rather, it comes from him struggling to survive. Once Huck meets Jim, it is seen that he does put Jim first in many occasions, because at that point, he can afford to. Earlier in the novel, he could...
tracking img