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Huck Finn 5 Essay, Research Paper

Huck Finn

The Hero s Journey

Mrs. Williamson describes a hero s journey as a cycle where the person is a hero from birth. This holds true for the character of Huck Finn because he fits the description of a hero in the book Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There are many different phases, or episodes that embody Huck and Luke s journey. They both start out feeling unfulfilled with their current circumstances, Luke is unhappy living in the desert and feels that he isn t living up to his potential. Huck is living with his aunt, and then his father who are both abusive in their own way and hinder his progress as a person. Then they both leave home and begin to view the world from a more mature perspective. Luke finds out that life consists of more than just the day to day experiences that he has had and that indeed there are many injustices taking place in the world. Such as the fact that evil people can rule others. Huck discovers this same phenomena, he escapes with Jim and begins to question a human s right to own someone else. In the end they both discover their worth as men who are able to do something to influence the world around them. For example, saving the lives of thousands of people or just one slave.

The period in one s life of innocence is a starting point for many heroes. This is the time prior to the adventure he is about to embark on. Huck s childhood consisted of childish games with his best friend, Tom Sawyer. Huck s days were filled with games of pretend that were supposed to be actual adventures. Most of these adventures were figments of Tom Sawyer s imagination. This is important to know since it provided the preparation Huck needed to get through the journey on the river. It gave him the tools to survive and maintain his sense of moral well-being. It is ironic, however, that the adventures Huck actually experiences are far more intense than the adventures they pretend to go on. Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction. Huck s schooling with the widow and Miss Watson are another element of his innocent childhood. He experienced what he called the civilized life. He was fed, wore clean clothes, and was well taken care of. For a boy who lived for adventures and everything nature had to offer, the civilized life did not appeal to him. As much as he appreciated what the widow and Miss Watson were trying to do, he still has his doubts on what they had to say. It is in Huck s character to believe everything he first hears, and then question the facts more and more over time until he finally realizes something is not true.

Luke has a fight with his uncle about leaving. In this conflict, all of his built up frustration and

The awakening of a hero s journey is the part where a hero is finally inducted into the hero s world. It is the point in the story where the hero does something that recognizes him as a man . Also, one can say that the Initiation is something that pushes the hero into the adult world. One of the rites of passage into the adult world was when Huck helped a slave friend, otherwise known as Jim, to escape.

The idea of Huck, a white person, and Jim, a black person, being friends was an unaccepted idea at the time. However, over time, Huck realizes that Jim truly is a human being. Jim feels things and does things like any other human being. Even though Huck still thinks of Jim as a black man, he describes towards the end of the book as Jim really being, white inside To Huck, this comment was not meant to be degrading, but a simple statement of Jim s humanity. The fact that Huck helped Jim to escape slavery can be known as a rite of passage into the hero s world, as well as his thrust into the adult world.

The last step in the hero s journey is the Freedom to Live. This is the stage where, after everything has been said and done, the hero is usually given choices to where he is going and what he is going to do. For Huck, this is his chance to escape the sivilized life he has seen on his journey up and down the length of the Mississippi river. It is interesting to look at Huck s view of the river and the actual land. It is a transition that can be noted throughout the book. Everytime Huck is on land, something happens that worsens his view of sivilized life. However, as soon as he gets on the Mississippi river that he so loves, a change in Huck s tone of voice is notable. It is almost as though Huck is speaking poetically of the river. This even further proves Huck s love for nature.

At the end of the book, a final decision is not really made, but Huck hints at the fact that he does not want any more of the sivilized life. He believes this his true calling is with nature and territory that has not yet been touched by the sivilized life he found to be so disgusting during his journey. To Huck, certain people, such as Tom, the widow, Miss Watson, and other individuals he met during his journey were suited for such sivilized life. Huck, however, would have none of it.

All three stages hold true to Campbell s idea of the basic process a hero goes through. This process is 1) departure, 2) fulfillment, and 3) return. Also, another important fact of the hero is that he does not get anything but the good deed he did. All of these ideas can be applied to Huck Finn, such as the three stages of Innocent World of Childhoo, the Initiation, and the Freedom to Live do. These absolutely establish Huck s place in the hero s world. However, it would be interesting to see what Huck has to say about generations of people recognizing him as a true hero.


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