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Huck and Pap: Relationships in Huckleberry Finn

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In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain writes complex and vivid relationships between Huck and his surroundings. Huck is interacting with adults trying to reform his ways, and with the environment around him. The people and environments he interacts with all have a different twist and feel to it, shaping and forming the story into an intricate tale of adventure. Pap and Huckleberry show their multifaceted relationship shown through actions, words and emotions. Huckleberry Finn’s actions, as well as his fathers, define their relationship in a twisted, haunting way. When Huck finds his fathers tracks and runs to Judge Thatcher’s to “sell all [his] property to [him], (Twain 25) we see a certain fear that should not be instilled in a boy as young as Huck. The intense fear we sense from Huck, and the actions that Huck takes a soon as he knows that his father is in town, shows us that he and his father do not have a loving relationship. We see that Huck knows his father’s cruel ways and will take any measures to keep his father from getting what is Huck’s. Defining this even more, we see Huck still going to school even though his father beat him for doing so. Huck is determined to not let his father take the education that is rightfully his, even going so far as to say that “he’d go now to spite Pap” (Twain 31). Huck having the gun pointed at his father shows that if need be, he is willing to stand up for himself in extreme ways. Although the reader does not believe that Huck would bring himself to shoot his own father, the action of Huck shows that he will have no mercy for his father. His father, likewise, has no mercy for Huck. This is seen when Pap is chasing Huck with a knife, granted he is drunk, but none-the-less chasing Huck with a knife. We as readers believe that even if Pap was not drunk, he would still kill his son, and this is shown in the same incident by hearing Huck declare that he is indeed Huck, not someone else that Pap is trying to kill. Their words show more than their actions as much is said between them about their disagreements and differences. Pap calling Huck the angel of death, even though he is drunk, shows that Pap has no regard for Huck. He thinks of Huck as more of a burden, someone that is a threat, than a son. This is also seen when Pap says, “You think you’re a good deal of a big-bug…you think you’re better’n your father” (Twain 28). This dynamic of their relationship plays a huge role when Pap takes Huck to the cabin, to keep Huck from becoming too much of a threat to him. Huck and Pap’s emotions reveal that every father and son has a tender spot for each other. Huck describes the cabin as being “lazy and jolly” (Twain 32), showing that even though his father is abusive there is still a time when Huck has a good time with him. Again, proving that any father-son have a certain bond that allows them to have a wonderful time together. Pap’s emotion towards the new Judge’s help shows that he is not such a cruel man after all, just one stuck in a rut. One thinks that he is sincere about accepting help and changing his ways when he declares them to the Judge. Although this fails, it give light into the situation that Pap could be saved if someone tried hard enough. Conclusion.

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