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Characterization Of Huck Finn Essay, Research Paper

Character Sketch of Huck Finn

Huckleberry Finn, narrator and main character in the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is easily one of America s best-loved fictional characters. As our guide on a journey through both the bowels of humanity and our own conscience, he undoubtedly wise beyond his years. In fact it is his lack of age that renders him so wise. Through youthful ignorance he is able to escape the curse of stupidity and prejudice, something given to mostly everybody from that era by society itself. Huck is every American s inner child.

Huck has practically no sense of humor; in fact he is almost completely literal mind. This is shown time and time again when he fails to see the wit in many of his co-characters jokes. For example he does not even admit a chuckle when told the age-old joke about where Moses was when the lights went out ( in the dark!). Also this gullibility leads him to believe that it is impossible for the drunk in the circus to be, in reality, a highly trained acrobat and part of a scheme to fool the audience. But this characteristic is not necessarily a negative one. It makes him the ideal narrator for the story. Because he is so literal minded he rarely exaggerates or embellishes the story so we can rest assure that we the reader are getting nothing but facts.

As expected by some one who lives in the frontier of a growing America, Huck is extremely practical, adaptable and shrewd. He is so adaptable that he can go from living in the civilized Christian home of Widow Douglas to being surrounded by wilderness, drifting down the Mississippi River, then back to the elegance of the Grangerfords. Huck is basically a human chameleon. As for his shrewdness, his resourceful imagination helps get him out of even the stickiest of situations. For example, when he is able to save Jim from the bounty hunters by creating the story about that Jim is really his father who is sick with a contagious disease.

Huck Finn is a man for others. He is sympathetic for even the most heinous murderers. He displays this quality when he attempts to save the cutthroats on board of the sinking Walter Scott. Also his sympathy is shown when he saves the Duke and the King from a mob and also feels sorry for them when they are tarred and feathered, despite the harm they brought him. It is this quality too that gives him much internal turmoil. He often finds himself debunking his own morals and conscience. But this is one of the things that make Huck so great. Instead of conforming to the standards of racism in society, he in his heart knows the corruption and hypocrisy of slavery in a democratic country. It is this sympathy that allows him to grow so close to his spiritual father; Jim.

All the characteristics of Huck thus far have been positive. But since Huck is only human and not perfect (another reason we love him in itself) he has a few flaws. One of which his is tendency to return to past behaviors when surrounded by people from his past, despite who he hurts. This is most strongly shown when he allows Tom Sawyer to plan an elaborate and grossly over-done escape for Jim, despite the fact the Huck himself came up with a much better one and despite the fact that all the while Jim is cooped up in his own personal hell. This is perhaps Huck s greatest flaw. But lucky for him, not large enough to be his downfall.

Huck is one of the most colorful and down to earth fictional characters in all of American literature. Whether it is his sympathy, shrewdness, ingenuity, or his love for the great outdoors, he is what we all wish we could be. Huckleberry Finn is not only an American boy, he is a hero.


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