Huck Finn

.. el’s accurate depiction of the world in which it is set. Yet this word is so hateful that over the years it has brought charges of racism onto the book and its author, and even some attempts to keep the book away from young people. The word is nigger. It is first used in Chapter One, as it will be throughout the book, to refer to all African Americans and especially those held as slaves.

It is important to remember that the word is used as part of the language of a corrupt, racist society. That society used that word as surely as it held human beings in slavery. Both facts are described in the novel; it is important to remember that the author condemns both. Summary Huck and Tom tiptoe through the garden. Huck trips on a root as he passes the kitchen.

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Jim, a big slave, hears him from inside. Tom and Huck crouch down, trying to stay still. But Huck is struck by an uncontrollable itch, as always happens when he is in a situation, like when he’s with the quality, where it is bad to scratch. Jim says aloud that he will stay put until he discovers the source of the sound, but after several minutes falls asleep. Tom plays a trick on Jim–putting his hat on a tree branch over his head–and takes candles from the kitchen, over Huck’s objections that they will risk getting caught.

Later, Jim will say that some witches flew him around the state and put the hat above his head as a calling card. He expands the tale further, becoming a local celebrity among the slaves, who enjoy witch stories. He wears around his neck the five-cent piece Tom left for the candles, calling it a charm from the devil with the power to cure sickness. Jim nearly becomes so stuck-up from his newfound celebrity that he is unfit to be a servant. Meanwhile, Tom and Huck meet up with a few other boys, and take a boat to a large cave. There, Tom declares his new band of robbers, Tom Sawyer’s Gang. All must sign in blood an oath vowing, among other things, to kill the family of any member who reveals the gang’s secrets.

The boys think it a real beautiful oath. Tom admits he got part of it from books. The boys nearly disqualify Huck, who has no family but a drunken father who can never be found, until Huck offers Miss Watson. Tom says the gang must capture and ransom people, though nobody knows what ransom means. Tom assumes it means to kill them.

But anyway, it must be done since all the books say so. When one boy cries to go home and threatens to tell the group’s secrets, Tom bribes him with five cents. They agree to meet again someday, just not Sunday, which would be blasphemous. Huckleberry makes it back into bed just before dawn. Miss Watson tries to explain prayer to Huckleberry in Chapter Three. Huckleberry gives up on it after not getting what he prays for.

Miss Watson calls him a fool, and explains prayer bestows spiritual gifts like selflessness to help others. Huck cannot see any advantage in this, except for the others one helps. So he resolves to forget it. Widow Douglas describes a wonderful God, while Miss Watson’s is terrible. Huck concludes there are two Gods.

He would like to belong to Widow Douglas’s, if He would take him – unlikely because of Huck’s bad qualities. Meanwhile, a rumor circulates that Huck’s Pap, who has not been seen in a year, is dead. A corpse was found in the river, thought to be Pap because of its ragged appearance, though the face is unrecognizable. At first Huck is relieved. His father had been a drunk who beat him when he was sober, though Huck stayed hidden from him most of the time.

Soon, however, Huck doubts his father’s death, and expects to see him again. After a month in Tom’s gang, Huck quit along with the rest of the boys. There was no point to it, without any robbery or killing, their activities being all pretend. Once, Tom pretended a caravan of Arabs and Spaniards were going to encamp nearby with hundreds of camels and elephants. It turned out to be a Sunday school picnic. Tom explained it really was a caravan of Arabs and Spaniards – only they were enchanted, like in Don Quixote. Huckleberry judged Tom’s stories of genies to be lies, after rubbing old lamps and rings with no result.

Commentary These two chapters develop the characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. The two are, in several respects, foils. But they still have some things in common. Through the character of Tom, Twain also pokes fun at romantic (non-realistic) literature. Tom insists that all his make-believe adventures be conducted by the book.

As Tom himself admits in regarding his gang’s oath, he gets many of his ideas from fiction. In particular, Tom tries to emulate the romantic (that is, not realistic) novels that were mostly imported from Europe and achieved enormous popularity in nineteenth-century North America. Tom will be identified with this genre throughout the novel (though he will not appear in most of it). Twain detested this category of literature, an opinion that is developed more fully in the last chapters of Huckleberry Finn. Ironically, the book that Tom explicitly mentions as a model in these chapters is Cervantes’s Don Quixote. Cervantes actually satirized romantic adventure stories in his masterpiece, as Twain does here and elsewhere in Huckleberry Finn. Tom apparently didn’t get the satire.

But with this allusion, Twain may be giving a literary tip of the hat to an earlier satirist and observer of human nature. But beyond simply using Tom’s connection to the romance novels to satirize the genre, Twain also seems to be associating Tom with the civilization that the genre represents. Tom further interests himself in contracts, codes of conduct, fancy language, and other made-up ideas. He also seems to embody some of the negative qualities associated with civilization in the novel. Most importantly, Tom is insensitive to others, particularly the slaves. In Chapter Two, Tom actually wants to tie Jim up for the fun of it.

He settles for playing a trick on him. Tom’s insensitivity, especially toward slaves, will reach a peak in the book’s final chapters. Tom also seems to possess a tendency in favor of the hypocrisy of civilized society that Twain pokes at. For instance, Tom makes his gang sign an oath in blood not to divulge the group’s secrets, but when a boy threatens to do this, Tom simply bribes him. Tom’s above-mentioned character traits contrast sharply with Huckleberry’s corresponding traits.

While Tom puts great stock in the literature of civilization, Huck is as skeptical of it as he is of religion. For both literature and religion, Huck refuses to accept much on faith. In Chapter Three, he rejects both genies and prayers once they do not produce the promised results. (Twain is making an irreverent statement on popular religious beliefs by showing Huck’s similar rejection of both prayer and genies.) Again, since both religion and romantic literature are products of civilization, Huck’s doubt towards them hints at his separation from civilization. Also, where Tom is insensitive to others, Huckleberry is naturally considerate, advising his friend against tying Jim up or playing tricks on him. Tom’s tendency toward hypocrisy also contrasts sharply with Huck’s sincerity, discussed in the critical reading of the last chapter.

Thus, the two characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are foils to each other: certain traits of one character serve to highlight the contrasting traits of the other. Nonetheless, though the important contrasting traits of the two characters make them foils, they still share some traits in common. These shared traits are enough to preserve the friendship between Tom and Huckleberry throughout the novel. Most importantly, the two characters share a kind of boyishness– that is, the characteristic embodied in the phrase, boys will be boys, and expounded upon in the first novel, Tom Sawyer. In the Preface to that book, the author wrote that he hoped the novel would rekindle its readers’ memories of their own childhood impishness, of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in.

That theme is continued as something of a motif, a topic of interest, in Huckleberry Finn. Both Huck and Tom, in their own ways, delight in the dirty language and pranks that adults shun. On the whole, though, Huck’s separation from the world of adults and their civilization is more complete, and more serious. Still, throughout the novel, Huck maintains some admiration for Tom’s romantic adventures, and often wonders what he would do in certain situations. Thus, Huck’s character has some connection to Tom’s less desirable traits.

Huck Finn

In the book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck rejects sivilized life. He
dreads the rules and conformities of society such as religion, school, and anything else that
will eventually make him civilized. He feels cramped in his new surroundings at the
Widow Douglass house. He would rather be in his old rags and sugar-hogshead because
he was free and satisfied. He felt out of place when he tried being sivilized because he
grew up fending for himself and to him it felt really lonely.

Huck Finn grew up living in the woods and pretty much raised himself because his
pap was a drunk. He never had a civilized lifestyle and he believed that his way of living
was good enough for him. He was free to do what ever he liked and that is how he
learned to live. He did not believe in school because all you need to know to live is not
found in a book that you read at school. He believed that you learned by living out in the
wild. Huck would rather be an individual than conform to society.

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Huck would rather follow his heart then his head and because of this Huck is ruled
as a bad person because in society your suppose to use your head. Huck is being
penalized for his beliefs and he does not want to be apart of a lifestyle that does not
support his ways. For instance his choice not to turn in Jim shows that Huck understands
why Jim is escaping. Huck sees Jim as a friend not as a slave and so he truly is able to see
that societys way of treaty Jim is wrong. Huck is portrayed as a boy who sees life at face
value and not by the set standards of the sivilized society.

The rejection of the sivilized lifestyles shows that Huck does not agree with it
rules. Because of this, he is able to see life from different perspectives. He can
sympathize with all the class in society. He learns to figure out what is morally correct
and wrong. Through out his journey down the river, Huck is able to learn more about
himself and others. His adventures has taught him more than he will ever learn just by
reading books. Huck is able to live a great life just by reacting to situations as they come
along. Huck is better off not living a sivilized lifestyle because that is how he learns.

Hucks rejection of a sivilized life can be seen as being rebellious, but as you
read more and more about Hucks adventures, you come to the realization that this has
helped Huck to become a well rounded person. Huck is a practical and realistic person
who grows more and more as he deals with every situation he is put in, but during his
time, it was not right for a child to be on his own because they are too young to know
anything and they need guidance through school and religion. Even though Huck is
young, he has learned a lot by reading and by self-study. Huck believes in being free so he
can able to adjust to situations rather than living a set life. Huck learns without the help of
school and other forms that will eventually make him sivilizedand he intends to keep it
that way and therefore he runs away from the sivilized society. Huck learns from his
actions and mistakes and not from others and that is how he grows mentally and

running away from sivilized society

Huck Finn

Word Count: 535The conflict between society and the individual is a theme portrayed throughout Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Huck was not raised in accord with the accepted ways of civilization. He practically raises himself, relying on instinct to guide him through life. As portrayed several times in the novel, Huck chooses to follow his innate sense of right, yet he does not realize that his own instincts are more moral than those of society.

From the very beginning of Huck’s story, Huck clearly states that he did not want to conform to society; “The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would civilize me . . . I got into my old rags and my sugar hogshead again, and was free and satisfied.”
When Pap returns for Huck, and the matter of custody is brought before the court, the reader is forced to see the corruption of society. The judge rules that Huck belongs to Pap, and forces him to obey an obviously evil and unfit man. One who drinks profusely and beats his son. Later, when Huck makes it look as though he has been killed, we see how civilization is more concerned over finding Huck’s dead body than rescuing his live one from Pap. This is a society that is more concerned about a dead body than it is in the welfare of living people.
The theme becomes even more evident once Huck and Jim set out, down the Mississippi. Huck enjoys his adventures on the raft. He prefers the freedom of the wilderness to the restrictions of society. Also, Huck’s acceptance of Jim is a total defiance of society. Ironically, Huck believes he is committing a sin by going against society and protecting Jim. He does not realize that his own instincts are more morally correct than those of society’.

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In chapter sixteen, we see, perhaps, the most inhumane action of society. Huck meets some men looking for runaway slaves, and so he fabricates a story about his father on the raft with smallpox. The men fear catching this disease and instead of rescuing him, they give him money and advise him not to let it be known of his father’s sickness when seeking help. These men are not hesitant to hunt slaves, yet they refuse to help a sick man. This is contrasted to Huck’s guilt felt for protecting Jim when he actually did a morally just action.

Huck’s acceptance of his love for Jim is shown in chapter thirty-one. Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson to return Jim, yet he ends up ripping the letter and wishes to free Jim. ” ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’- and he tore it up.” Here, we see that Huck concludes that he is evil, and that society has been right all along.

The ending is perhaps most disappointing because it seems as though through all the situations that it seemed he was growing up and accepting his innate ideas of right, he hasn’t grown at all. When he is reunited with Tom, he once again thinks of Jim as property. Huck functions as a much nobler person when he is not confined by the hypocrisies of civilization.


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