Term Paper: Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain's use of Huck as a tool to denounce society's false values

Mark Twain's novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" puts across a series of concepts that relate to human nature and the contrast between a natural life and a civilized one. In spite of the fact that society has experienced much progress, people who lived during the recent centuries have performed a great deal of immoralities. Twain basically uses the character of Huck with the purpose of emphasizing the fact that society and civilized people in particular are inclined to be hypocritical. The majority of people prefers to put across a false moral attitude and is actually interested in material values and in achieving their personal goals, regardless of the effects that its actions have on others.

One of the principal purposes of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is to demonstrate that humanity is not as advanced as some might think. The world is filled with false values and most people seem to be unconcerned with anything but their personal well-being. From the very first pages of the novel readers are presented with the fact that even some of the most respectable men are inclined to put across immoral behavior. The central character of the book, Huckleberry Finn, relates to how readers are likely to know him from reading "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and to how Mark Twain "told the truth, mainly" (Twain 5). The concept of truth probably has a deeper meaning, as Twain is not only interested in telling the truth concerning Huckleberry Finn, as he also wants to denounce his contemporary society. Huck seems to be particularly interested in the truth and he believes that it is pointless for him to adopt a false image in order to be similar with other people that are respected in the social order. Tom and Huck are both examples regarding how a person needs to refrain from replicating the behavior he or she sees in 'adults' in order for him or her to remain truthful to him or herself.

As Twain presents readers with Huck's character, most people are probable to consider that he practically contrasts the image of the modern man through his behavior and through the fact that he is determined to act in disagreement with society's rules. The masses generally consider that rules are essential and that it is very important for people to respect them in order for society to be an organized place.

Through highlighting the 'qualities' of Huck's character the writer intends to demonstrate that society promotes illogic behavior. Individuals are focused on performing a series of tasks in order to be lawful and express little to no interest in actual moral concepts. Because of his free personality Huck is unable to live alongside of people who want to educate him. Education is basically shown as a concept that prevents people from understanding matters from an objective point-of-view. As he escapes the boundaries of the social order Huck feels that he is "free and satisfied" (Twain 6).

Individuals such as the widow are unable to comprehend Huck's behavior as they believe that it is wrong to concentrate on one's freedom in life. Their involvement in the social order makes it difficult for them to understand Huck. Even the clothes that people wanted the protagonist to wear feel restraining, thus contributing to the belief that individuals are not necessarily interest in comfort and they are determined to do anything in order to 'fit'.

Slavery is one of the principal aspects that Twain relates to with the purpose of emphasizing society's flaws and the fact that people who claim to be civilized are actually capable of issuing laws that accept slavery as a legal concept. Racism dominates most of the novel and Huck appears to be among the only individuals able to understand that slavery is wrong. Moreover, he has a conflict with his conscience in regard to slavery. "His conscience tells him, the way it has been instructed, that to help the runaway, nigger Jim to escape -- to aid in stealing the property of Miss Watson, who has never injured him, is an enormous offense that will no doubt carry him to the bad place; but his affection for Jim finally induces him to violate his conscience and risk eternal punishment in helping Jim to escape" (Champion 25).

Considering Huck's background, one can realize that it was problematic for him to comprehend slavery. He is surely influenced by society's pressure to abandon his attempt to assist Jim, but he is unwilling to renounce it as he learns more about Jim's character. Jim also has trouble understanding his role in the world and he is influenced by his traditions in performing a series of irrational acts. Taking this into account, it appears that Twain wanted readers to understand that all people are likely to suffer because of being pressured as they integrate society more and more.

Jim's life experiences influenced him in believing that all white people are the same. He is accustomed to being treated as property and sees freedom as a concept that it almost impossible to achieve. Huck's behavior and the risks that the boy takes with the purpose of helping him have a strong impact on Jim, as he comes to see him as "de on'y white genlman dat ever kep' his promise to ole Jim" (Twain 177). Jim is inclined to accept his fate and to consider that he actually belongs where he is as is encounters more and more resistance in his quest for freedom. The institution of slavery is shown as being corrupted and as being particularly disadvantageous for society from a psychological point-of-view. Twain's depiction of the relationship between Jim and Huck can virtually be considered to be "a repudiation of traditional forms of plot structure, the rules and manners of genteel society, and the restraints civilization places upon the free spirit" (Johnson 1).

Huck is shown as a hero that goes through a series of phases in his development and that provides readers with the general image in the slave-holding society. He is initially presented with the condition of a slave and gradually understands more regarding the fact that slavery is long. He learns more about his community, people's thinking, and he is influenced in believing that it is mandatory for him to adopt a certain attitude in order to be accepted. Huck is virtually shocked as he is transported "from a fairly tranquil village boyhood into the brutal world of adult reality" (Johnson 4). He matures and grows into a person that is capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong.

From the first moments when Huck realizes that society is restraining and does not really promote freedom he develops into an outcast. He discovers that he does not fit into the social order and believes that it would be pointless for him to stay within unjust limits. The fact that his father made it impossible for him to have a normal childhood appears to have shaped his character and to have assisted him in being unrestrained. "At fourteen Huck has never heard of heaven or hell and doesn't know what prayer is. But he is what one might describe today as street smart. He has folk wisdom and common sense rather than book learning" (Johnson 5). Huck often tends to abandon his lifestyle in order to be more like Tom Sawyer but his actions are actually more moral than his, considering that he is the person responsible for helping Jim throughout his endeavor.

Twain most probably lived to see the effects that slavery had on the American society and observed that slaves continued to be discriminated in spite of the fact that society provided them with freedom. This encouraged him in condemning individuals in the U.S. regarding their behavior and in raising people's awareness. Society put across a hypocritical attitude at the time when Twain wrote the novel, as it posed in a community that no longer wanted to consider black people unequal but actually employed prejudice when concerning their personality.

Huck's character embodies a set of concepts that are against society's values and through looking at things from his perspective one can understand how wrong people can be in trying to be "sivilized, as they called it" (Twain 51). The moment when his father kidnaps Huck does not just present him with a cruel perception of the world, as it also enables him to understand the brutality and the ridiculousness that are hidden behind society's image. The worst aspects of human behavior are revealed through Huck's experiences with the social order. He enjoys his stay with the Grangerford family at first, especially considering his relationship to Mr. Grangerford, whom he believes to be "sunshine most always -- I mean he made it seem like good weather" (Twain 207). However, his trust in humanity is once again shattered as the feud between the Shepherdson and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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