Mark Twain is one of the most famous American authors to this day. His satirical style of writing made him one of the most beloved writers of his time. His novel “the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is regarded as one of the Great American Novels- an honor bestowed only upon books that accurately reflect the spirit of America at the time it is set in, in not only craft but also theme. Thus, he received praise from many critics for his ingenious work. Two such critics were James Cox, analyzing the novel in his book “Modern Critical Interpretations: Mark Twain. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and Harold Beaver in “Major Literary Characters: Huck Finn”.
Cox’s view of Pap as being a deadbeat father is completely spot on. His “brutality and racism”, as shown by his frequent beatings of Huck and superiority complex regarding the more erudite mixed race man who was allowed to vote in Pap’s home state in Ohio, makes him a very difficult character to like or even respect. Any pity initially had for him due to his sorry state is immediately lost when in chapter fifteen, he is given the chance by the new judge to fix his malevolent and self-destructive ways, and cunningly tricks everyone into thinking he shall, only to run off in the middle of the night and trade the coat so kindly bestowed upon him by the judge for some liquor. However, the notion that Jim takes Pap’s place as the loving, nurturing father Huck never had is, to a large extent, absurd. There can never be a proper parent-child relationship if there is an absence of respect, and Huck does not respect Jim. It is true that Jim is a pleasant man, but the fact still remains that he is a black slave, hence Huck places himself above Jim, whereas he respects his vile, abusive father simply because he’s his white elder. Furthermore, Jim and Huck’s relationship is a symbiotic one, with both of them relying on each other equally when they're on the run. An ideal father-son relationship would be more...
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