Influences on Huck Finn

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Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of a young boy who is just beginning to mature into an adult. He and his friend Tom Sawyer gain a small fortune of $6,000 and Huck’s father, Pap, who has been absent for virtually all of Huck’s life, is seeking it. Because of the constant abuse from his father, he is forced to run away and start on an adventure down the Mississippi River with his companion, Jim, a runaway slave. Although he leaves his home, it still has an influence on him. Both Pap and the two women he lives with, Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, have great influences on him. The women influence him positively while Pap provides a much more negative influence.

Widow Douglas and Miss Watson try to be positive influences on Huck’s life. Both women are sisters living together, and the widow adopts Huck, taking him into their home. They are doing their best to teach Huck good manners and so educate him etiquette, academics, and religion. Widow Douglas is much more understanding towards Huck. She is more compassionate and Huck feels much more inclined to listen to the widow, rather than the sterner Miss Watson. INSERT EXAMPLE ABOUT WANTING TO QUIT SCHOOL. Because he does respect the widow’s wishes, Huck does try, or at least pretend to listen to the widow, while rejecting the advice of Miss Watson. The beginning of the novel displays an evening in the house and how influential the ladies try to be on Huck’s life and how he reacts to their attempts. When the family sat to dinner, Huck wanted to start eating right away, but he knew “When you got to the table, you couldn’t go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals” (2). The widow is forcing Huck to acknowledge prayer before a meal and the importance of religion. This point is made further when after supper; the widow read Huck the story of Moses in the bulrushes. At first Huck was interested, but he...
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