Portrayal of Family in Huckleberry Finn

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Huckleberry Finn provides the narrative voice of Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Huck’s honest voice combined with his personal vulnerabilities reveal the portrayal of family in the novel. Although many themes and topics can be found in this novel, the topic of family is very important because in the end, Huck’s new family provides peace for the confused, ignorant boy Huck was in the beginning of the novel. Through his travels, Huck accumulates his “floating family”. Through Huck’s adventures, he finds not only people to join his “floating family”, but places that feel like home for Huck as well.

Huck is a kind of natural philosopher, skeptical of social doctrines, and willing to set forth new ideas. However, when it comes to the idea of a family, Huck is ignorant in all ways. Nevertheless, Huck’s adventures throughout the novel present him with opportunities to gain the family that he has secretly wanted all his life because of his lack of compassion from his remaining family. This new discovery to a family begins with Tom Sawyer. Tom Sawyer initiated himself as the decision-maker, with Huck listeing without argument, much like a big brother little brother relationship. “ In the first few chapters of the book, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are established as foils for each other-characters whose actions and traits contrast each other in a way that gives readers a better understanding of both characters. Due to these contrasts, Tom has established himself as Huck’s older brother. Later on in the book, Huck comes across the Grangerford family. The Grangerford family is a tragic family in a huge predicament similar to Romeo and Juliet. Huck finds himself attached to the family in a way. “Everybody loved to have him (Col. Grangerford) around, too; he was sunshine most always-I mean he made it seem like good weather.” Huck cries over Buck’s body because Huck has begun to think of Buck as a friend as well as a brother. Huck finds the feud that the Gangerford’s have with the Shepherdson’s unnecessary and harmful, and believes it will only bring hurt and loss to both sides, which it inevitably does. The future losses, which are inescapable hurt Huck because he feels connected to each family member in a different way, even the dead sister, Emmeline.

Throughout all these situations that Huck goes through, Jim has supported him, even when Jim was not with Huck at every time. Jim first met up with Huck on the island. Jim escaped Widow Douglas’s home because he was to be sold down south, which would separate Jim from his family forever. Jim is hands down the most important person to Huck throughout the novel, putting himself in a category as one of Huck’s new family members. Jim has been associated as Huck’s father figure. During their time together, Jim and Huck make up a sort of alternative family in an alternative place, apart from society. Huck escaped from society for adventure and a new life, while Jim has escaped from society so that he wouldn’t be separated from his family by being sold down south. Jim is based off of his love, whether it’s for his family or his growing love for Huck. Jim was thought of by Huck as a stupid, ignorant slave in the beginning of the novel, but as Huck spends more time with Jim, Huck realizes that Jim has a different kind of knowledge based off of his years as well as his experiences with love. In the incidents of the floating house and Jim’s snakebite, Jim uses his knowledge to benefit both of them but also seeks to protect Huck. Jim is less imprisoned by conventional wisdom than Huck, who has grown up at least partly in mainstream white society. Jim proves his humanity to Huck by baring himself emotionally to Huck, expressing a longing for his family and his guilt when Jim mentions the time he beat his daughter when she did not deserve it. Nevertheless, throughout their time together, Huck has still had the idea of turning Jim in. Huck searches the social and religious belief...
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