Companionship in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is said to be one of the most important pieces of American Literature. It is the story of the adventures of an adolescent boy, but more deeply a story that addressed many problems of America during the time. One such example is the theme of companionship. Twain uses the theme to express not only the benefits of companionship, but the out right need for it. William Bridges says that Huck will always be a loaner in society because it would allow them to instill values and demand that he meets cultural needs. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in an excellent account of the need for companionship, especially the male-bonding relationship.
In the novel, Mark Twain creates an interesting relationship between two seemingly opposite characters: a white boy and a black man. Right away, the reader realizes this relationship seems not only odd, but almost unlikely. As the story matures, the relationship between Huck and Jim matures as well. In the beginning of the book, Huck treats Jim as though Jim is not a human-being, but something sub-human with human-like qualities. More to the climax and conclusion of the book, Jim changes in Huck's eyes. Huck now seems to regard Jim as a friend, supported by the fact that Huck did not have the heart to turn in the fugitive slave. This relationship is critical in the plot. Twain not only uses it to advance the story, but to address a rising national problem. The national need for companionship and re-bonding after the Civil War, not only to heal the wounds between the North and South, but between blacks and whites. Twain illustrates this need by making Jim become something of a father figure to Huck, a type of nurturing between men, essential for the survival of the nation. Twain sets the scene by showing that Jim felt he had an obligation to protect Huck on their adventure, especially when they enter the house floating on the...
Cited: Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: New American Library, 1997.
William E. Bridges Family Patterns and Social Values in America, 1825-1875
American Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring, 1965), pp. 3-11
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