11 January 2011
Huckleberry Finn Analysis
Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been regarded as one of the greatest novels in American regionalism. So many Americans have read it, and many have enjoyed it and many believe that it is worthy of the highest praise, and deserves to be included in the canon of Great American literature. As a piece of regionalist literature, the novel shines out amongst other novels. Twain vividly describes the Mississippi river and surrounding area of Missouri with detail unrivaled. His characters’ dialogue accurately depicts the dialogue of the area, and their attitudes, especially towards African Americans, are also historically accurate. However, as Huck and Jim move farther south down the river, Twain loses touch with his style of writing. The regionalist aspect suddenly crumbles, and his plot line gets outrageously unbelievable. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is not deserving of inclusion in the canon of Great American literature. As Jane Smiley said in her essay Say It Ain’t So, Huck, “There is more to be learned about the American character from its canonization than through its canonization(Smiley 61).” If Twain had kept the story line in his territory of familiarity the outcome may be different, but as his setting moves south, his writing moves right along with it.
To clearly see how Twain’s writing deteriorates as the novel progresses one must compare quotes from when the novel is set in Missouri to when the novel is set farther south. Here is a quote from the beginning of the novel, describing the area around Jackson Island, “…but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there amongst them. There was freckled...