Huckleberry Finn 2


Huckleberry Finn 2 Essay, Research Paper

Huckleberry Finn

In the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck goes through

many adventures on the Mississippi River. He escapes from Pap and

sails down the Mississippi with an escaped slave named Jim. Huck goes

through the moral conflict of how wrong it is to be helping Jim escape

to freedom. Eventually Huck decides he will help Jim and actually

steals him from a farmer with the help of Tom Sawyer, a friend.

Eventhough Huck and Jim are trying to sail to the Ohio River which

leads to freedom, they pass it in the dark.

Over the course of the novel Huck’s opinion of Jim changes. In the

beginning of their voyage, Huck feels he shouldn’t be helping Jim to

freedom and almost turns him in to slave catchers Twain 87 “I was

paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this

(that Huck is his one and only friend) it seemed to take the tuck all

out of me.”. Huck begins to enjoy having Jim’s company, and when Jim

is sold by the Duke and the King, Huck breaks down and cries while

asking the Duke where Jim is Twain 208 “’sold him’ I says, and begun

to cry; ‘why he was my nigger, and that was my money. Where is he?– I

want my nigger.”. Then Huck steals Jim from the Phelps farm

(eventhough he was already set free by Miss Watson’s will). Huck Finn

changes as we go through the story because Jim is really almost his

slave and he grows to like having Jim wait on him.

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain depicts Southern life and society

in the 1870’s. The main point that Twain makes is that Southern life

is not as glorious as it’s made out to be. We can tell this be several

ironies between the way Southern life was depicted and the way Twain

describes them. One of the ironies is that plantation owners were

supposed to be like kings, but Twain takes one of these “kings”,

Colonel Sherburn and has him kill Boggs, the town drunk. If these

plantation owners were kings they’d have no reason to be killing

drunks. Another irony is that Southern society is supposed to be based

on European aristocracy, but in reality the characters in this book

are nothing but loafers and idiots. They are quick to pass judgment

like when Huck tells the slave catchers that people on his raft have

smallpox (on page 88) and they instantly believe him and give him

money. Violence is the general outcome of most situations in this

novel. An example of this is the funeral when a dispute arises when

the real Wilkses arrive they decide that they’ll kill all four of them

Twain 195 “The whole billin’ of ‘m ’s frauds! Le’s duck ‘em! Le’s

drown ‘em! Le’s ride ‘em on a rail!”. Mary Jane is a good example of

one of the few good intelligent Southerners in this book.

In Huck Finn Twain uses women throughout the novel. Some of the

women like Mary Jane and Mrs. Loftus (when Huck dresses as a girl) are

used to help Huck. Mary Jane aids in catching the Duke and King, and

Mrs. Loftus gives Huck some valuable information Twain 57 “…but

husband’s going over to see (if Jim’s on Jackson Island)- him and

another man”. Another way women are used in this novel is as

controlling figures. The widow and Miss Watson are two character who

try to control or “sivilize” Huck and are generally viewed as bad


It may be suprising but Huck Finn wasn’t considered a racist for

the time that this story occured. Huck Finn acted and thought just

like many other Southerners Twain 213 “..(Huck)We blowed out a

cylinder head. (Aunt Sally) Good gracious! Anybody hurt? (Huck) No’m

killed a nigger. (A.Sally) Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people

do get hurt.” Back then negros were treated as objects or animals. The

word ‘nigger’ was the normal word for a black person. That is why this

book is so controversial today. In any case Huck Finn is a good story,

and a great example of literature from that time.

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