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Mark Twain/ Huck Finn

May 22, 2001 1849 Words
In Mark Twains' books he relates himself to a characters by giving them some of his personal life and history. In the book The Adventures of Huck Finn, Mark Twain relates the most to the main character of Huck Finn. Mark Twain and the character Huck Finn have similarities in their lives, such as, Twain placing Huck on the river he grew up on, having Huck not be specific with his religious beliefs, and never staying in the same place for long.

The main thing that stood out in the book was that the story always happened around the river. Huck would go away from the river for a while but would always end up coming back to it a short time later. It was the same way with Mark Twain, whose real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens. "Mark Twain" is a river man's term for water that was just barely safe for navigation (Kaplan). He was only four years old when his family moved to Hannibal, a small town in Marion County on the west bank of the Mississippi River. There Clemens spent his boyhood, amazed by the romance and shocked by the violence of the river life, with the steamboats, keelboats, and giant lumber rafts, as well as by the people who washed up by the river, the professional gamblers and confidence men. Near the river, the men were fierce and had little cares. It was no place for a young boy.

Further from the banks of the Mississippi was Hannibal. Hannibal was a fine place to raise children. There were many places to go with fun things for young boys to do. Twain let his imagination go when he went to places like Holliday's Hill and the caves close to the summit, where he may have played pirates just like Huck. A close friend of Clemens was Tom Blankenship, the son of the village drunkard, who was to be immortalized years later as Huck's friend Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer). Tom Sawyer is Huck Finn's best friend in the book. Tom freely invents lies and loves adventure, just as Tom Blankenship did.

When Clemens was just a young boy he saw death on the river and in his owns home. One of his sisters died when he was four years old, and his brother died three years later when he was seven years old (Encyclopedia Britannica). After the death of Samuel Clemens' father, it became necessary for him to contribute to supporting his family. He worked so hard that he burned himself out and later he said that he became very lazy (Miller, Robert). He had the jobs of being a delivery boy, grocery clerk, blacksmith, and a printer in a very short period of time. Clemens first started writing for his brother in the Hannibal Journal ("The Bible According to Mark Twain"). He felt unhappy when he stayed in one place for too long. He did a lot of traveling throughout his life and even worked on the riverboats for the adventure.

Clemens' writings got him in trouble with the police because of articles he had written about political corruption in San Francisco ("The Adventures of Huck Finn"). This would not be the last time his writing would cause him controversy. His book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was banned from some public libraries because it was said to be vulgar, immoral, and irreligious(Christian Science). They said the main reason for banning the book was that it set a bad example for youngsters, because the book does not portray any positive role models, and it only seems to deal with violent, foul-mouthed thieves. One example of a situation the libraries disliked was when Tom fakes his drowning in the river to disappear again. Like when Tom fakes that he has drown in the river to disappear again. Parents did not like the ways that Tom tries to trick his Aunt Polley and deceive her. Clemens slightly softened some of his sarcastic jabs against religion and racism, and he made changes to the finished product to make it more acceptable to their contemporary values (Miller, Perry). His changes were designed to bring the finished product closer to his own concepts. Clemens was not pleased at all for having to alter his book. For this, he said "Evolution failed, when man appeared, for his was the only evil heart in the entire animal kingdom."

It took Mark Twain seven years to complete The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huckleberry Finn is a relatively rare book that is classified as an adult book, but contains little if any sexually explicit material ("Is Huck Finn Racist?"). For this reason his book was thought of more for children than adults. During Mark Twain's lifetime The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn became one of his most popular books and later an American classic. The reason this book has lasted so long is because both children and college professors of learning can enjoy it.

The story is told by Huck the whole way through the book. This first-person perspective is the main evidence that makes me think that he is trying to portray himself as the character Huck Finn. Huck has been living with the Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson which make him feel like he is locked up. Huck was used to being free and having a easy life, now, living with them he is expected to follow all of these rules, such as, "Sit up straight", "Do your homework." Huck is an open-minded character, who is willing to try anything. Huck is the type of person that will believe anyone right away, and worry about figuring out if it‘s right later. An example is when Miss Watson tries to teach Huck about religion and how to pray. Huck feels that since he asked the Lord for something he should get it right away. God does not work like that so he does not really believe in God or understand the way God works. Another reason for this is because Huck's dad always put down religion. By putting down religion and teaching Huck that it is wrong he has confused Huck and made it harder for him to see the ways of God because Huck never questioned why his father felt this way about religion.

Clemens has the same similar views. He never takes a stand and says that he is a Christian. He uses Huck as a person who does not understand the beliefs of religions, and with a weird humor makes fun of them. But Clemens and Huck always try to do the right thing even though he does not believe in God. In the book Huck learns to do what he has been taught to be wrong in order to save his friend Jim from being captured. Like when he breaks Jim out because he believes that Jim should be free. Clemens' father sold slaves and hired them to work his land, but Clemens believed that slaves should be free. Huck promised Jim that he would not turn him in. This showed that Huck had his own set of beliefs on what is right and wrong and he didn‘t let others influence his values. Clemens was a strong believer in a person's word and tries to express that through as his main value in the book. Such as when he promises to get the money back that the Duke and King, a couple of rough river men, have stolen. *****In the book Huck seems to find more faith in superstition with Jim than in Christianity. In the book, Tom Sawyer always seems to be more religious than Huck. Jim is Miss Watson's slave who tends to be very superstitious about everything. Jim believes that he can talk to a hairball and predict the future from it. He gets Huck to give him a dollar to tell him his future. One night, Huck decided to play a trick on Jim. Huck pretended to be a witch just to scare superstitious Jim. Even though Huck was there that night when Jim said he got attacked by witches and Huck was the one who played a trick on him. And since Jim believed in witches he made up stuff more and more each time he told his story.

The King and Duke only turn to religion if they can make money from it. Such as when they are at the picnic in the woods he fakes seeing the light to make some money. He does the same thing with the fake plays that he makes up. And after all that Huck and Jim have done for them, helping them not to get caught and going along with their ideas. They try to turn Jim in for the reward out for him. They let the Duke and King take over their raft and they didn't care. This is why to me they seem to be very giving people.

The main reason Huck does not worry about all of these things is because he is free and everything that goes on is an adventure to him. And both times when he fakes his death he chooses to die in the river. All he wants is to be carefree, floating down the river. He shows us that is the only thing that he cares about because he gives all his money to Judge Thatcher since the money was causing a problem. In a way the same thing happened to Clemens. He experienced financial difficulties in his later years, when his company went bankrupt. And the early deaths of his children would later lead to depression and emotional suffering. So Clemens rode the Mississippi for almost four years, and he remembered these years as the most carefree of his life.

The river is the main focus of the book. They never seem to stay away from it for very long. Even with all the bad stuff going on at the river, it seems to be the only place that Clemens and Huck can find peace. The river even takes his evil father away from him for good. Through spending so much time with Jim, and all the experiences on the river, Huck reveals a strong sense of humanity ("Huck Finn Notes"). He showed this when he did everything he could to save the two murderers who fell off of the ship. Huck will always do everything that he can to help a person if they need it. Huck is a very clever character who always thinks his plans out, unlike Tom who just acts upon an idea.

Clemens seems to use his childhood experiences to write this book. To represent his self as a child he uses Huck and lets him live out all of his childhood adventures. Twain and Finn are similar because they both grew up on the river, have no specific religious beliefs, and they never stay in one place for a long time.

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