Realities Behind Deceiving Appearances

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According to Alfred Kazin, “In every great novel of society... what counts is the reality behind the appearance” (Kazin, 1981, 297). In other words, he’s saying that the best books are those that include one or more realities behind appearances. The novel first I chose is called Perfect by Ellen Hopkins. This book has four main characters; Cara, Sean, Kendra, and Andre, who are all teens struggling to fit the ideal of perfection, even if it means hurting and lying to themselves and others. The other novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain tells a story of a runaway slave named Jim and a young boy Huck, running from the dangers of his father. Together they are trying to get to the North but run into many roadblocks. This adventure includes deceit, danger, excitement and most of all, friendship. Both of these novels show reality behind experiences through its actions, dialogs, and the characters themselves! In the following paragraphs, I will compare and explain the reality behind appearances such as friends or family, disguises and secrets in both novels, Perfect and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Jim, a runaway slave from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn shows many realities behind deceiving appearances. An example of a deceiving appearance is when Huck and the duke paint Jim all blue and dressed him up in King Lear’s outfit before leaving to town. Huck doesn’t want to risk Jim being taken away and sold back into slavery so they disguise him as a “sick arab-but harmless when not out of his head” (Twain 157) so that he won't have to uncomfortably lay tied up in the wigwam all day. The reality behind this disguise is that Jim is a kind and harmless runaway slave. After a tiring adventure, Jim talks to Huck about his family. When telling stories to Huck, he reveals a reality behind a deceiving appearance about his daughter Elizabeth. When Jim’s daughter was young, she got very sick. When she was better, Jim had told her to shut the door...