Huckleberry Finn: Realism vs. Romanticism
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, mainly takes place on the Mississippi River, as Huck and Jim pursue their freedom. They persevere through many obstacles and learn life lessons along the way. Twain uses these characters to depict the significance of friendship over society's moral structure. He demonstrates characteristics of both Romanticism and Realism in his novel to express his ideas of that time period. Romanticism is based on the importance of feelings, imagination and individual creativity, whilst Realism is intended to portray the lives of the common man, the ethical struggles and social issues of real-life situations. Huckleberry Finn is essentially a Realistic novel because of Twain's careful detail in the descriptions of the setting and characters. He does this to make it as close as possible to the actual surroundings and events of the time period. Throughout his novel, Twain uses Romanticism primarily within the character, Tom Sawyer. Sawyer is an adventurous romantic that comes up with all sorts of plans and ideas, mainly from books that he's read. Tom finds inspiration in these myths, and conveys them into his own elaborate schemes. When Tom and Huck are trying to rescue Jim, Huck proposes a plan, but is rejected by Tom: “Work? Why, cert'nly it would work, like rats a-fighting. But it's too blame' simple; there ain't nothing to it. What's the good of a plan that ain't no more trouble than that?”(327). Twain shows how Tom drags everything out, just to make it more fun or adventurous, while Huck just wants to get the job done. As the novel progresses, Huck learns that feelings triumph over reason and the beliefs of society. Towards the end of the book, Huck is faced with a difficult decision. He is torn by his friendship for Jim and the belief that helping a runaway slave is a sin. He decides to write a letter to Miss Watson, explaining where Jim is, but isn't satisfied: “All right,...
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