Analysis of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the most controversial stories written. It holds the title number four on the list of banned books for the use of the “N-word” and has been interpreted in many different ways. Some see it as a book about racism, others believe it is about morality and ethics. Many interpret the story as one about adventure and freedom. Critics may disagree about what message Twain was trying to get across, but one thing is clear; Huckleberry’s character changes and develops continuously throughout the story. However, even though he develops new ideas and seems to have a better understanding of morality towards the end of the book, he is quick to return to his old ways when his troublesome friend Tom Sawyer returns. In the end of it all, Huck still has characteristics of a racist and tends puts himself before others. He is only willing to do the right thing if it makes him feel better or if he’ll have a guilty conscience either way.
Twain first introduces Huck as a young boy who is being taught how to be ‘sivilized’ by a widow who took him in. The Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson tried to educated Huck about society since his alcoholic father was not a good example for him. Huck has learned that in society, African Americans were seen as subhuman and could be owned as property. So naturally, when Huck finds himself sailing down the Mississippi with a runaway slave, he doesn’t feel guilty when he treats the runaway poorly. At the beginning of their journey, Huck plays a trick on the runaway slave, Jim, by convincing him that the traumatizing separation between them in a storm was only a dream. When Huck eventually admits that the storm really did happen, Jim tells Huck how hurt he was. Jim calls out Huck’s selfishness when he says, “‘all you wuz thinkin’ ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie’” (Twain, pg. 85). This incident is followed by a rare apology from...
Cited: 1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. p1-21. Word Count: 14527.
2. Covici, Pascal., Jr. "Huckleberry Finn, Adventures of." Encyclopedia Americana. Grolier Online, 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.
3. Otten, Laura. "Huck Finn; The Racist Protagonist." Huck Finn; The Racist Protagonist. N.p., 15 May 2006. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.
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