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Huck Finn Essay, Research Paper

English 103

November 15, 1999

Life is full of unexpected circumstances. People are forced to face these situations that are sometimes unfortunate. Some run away from their problems, while others are strong enough to face them. Their strength to face life’s struggles comes from their valuable morals that guide their decisions.

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, readers come across a young boy with so many problems. Mark Twain portrays Huck Finn as a teenage boy who has been one of those people to face the horrible situations life threw at him. Huck started out as confused child-following the directions of his peers. As wrong and immoral as Huck’s friends were, he looked up to them for their adventurous ways and courageous behaviors. So often in life, society turns away from their inner feelings in the process of being like everybody else. Huck would rather have sacrificed going to the “good place”(13) because of his desire to “be together”(13). Not only did Huck agree to “robbery and murder”(18), but he also “offered them Miss Watson”(18) to kill. This proves just how low Huck made himself just to fit in.

It’s not surprising to witness someone’s attitude to change for the worst. Nor is it ironic to observe someone to take a change for the better. Huck Finn experienced a lot of emotional pain at such a young age. His absent mother and drunken father are enough to make a person emotionally and mentally delirious. When individuals go through such suffering, they tend to take their stress and hurt out on others. Rather taking this kind of action through his words, Huck used his actions. He was so unhappy with himself and his life, that he made the ones who love him worry miserably.

Despite Huck’s intentions of lying, running away, and smoking, his struggles made him a better person. His desire for freedom and independence, allowed him to put his life on the line and caused him to fend for himself.

Further in Twain’s novel, readers see Huck as a different person. He suddenly goes from the hurtful type to a sensitive young man. During his journey, Finn watched a feud take place and admits that it made him “so sick”(116) in which he “most fell out of the tree” (116) he was watching from. Not only did Huck get disgusted with such a brutal sight, but he kept saying to himself: “I reckoned I was to blame somehow”(116). This is a clear indication that Huck has that sensitivity in him. That “downhearted”(116) emotional feeling made him guilty about his sneaky ways.

Jim is a character portrayed as a slave seeking freedom. Despite the fact that in the beginning of the book Huck wanted so badly to conform to his friend’s ways, he saw deep in himself his morals. Huck came to realize that he “couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden”(207) himself against Jim. Although the others would turn him in, Huck “would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery”(207). When Huck went through this process, he was following his heart. He realized that what he wanted to do for Jim “would get all around”(205) to everyone back home. However, Huck’s values from within, led him to take that chance even if others expected him to “lick his boots of shame”(205). Huck Finn had such a sympathetic heart toward Jim. He didn’t see Jim the way Miss Watson and the widow did; as worthless slave. He viewed him as a “mighty good nigger”(153). Huck also saw him as one who “cared just as much for his people as white folks”(153). By Huck risking his reputation, his reputation, it is proven that he has a kind soul.

Another turn around by Huck was his view toward Miss Watson. Here was a woman whom Huck viewed to be as a “tiresome and lonesome”(13) individual. However, when contemplating the decision of whether or not to turn Jim in, he looked upon her as an innocent lady. He kept asking himself “what had poor Miss Watson done”(91) to him that was so bad. She “tried to learn”(91) him his studies, and was there for him. Huck’s remorse for stealing her slave away from her made him feel “so mean and so miserable”(91), that he wished he was dead.

When individuals come across someone who they despise, they tend to show no remorse when that certain somebody goes through pain. When Twain first introduced Huck, readers got the impression his bad ways would lead him to be the revengeful type. In the beginning, it was easily possible to mistake Huck to be remorseless. Twain portrayed him to be such a character in which people’s first impression of him was poor. However, despite Huck’s bad experience with the king and duke, he felt “sorry for them poor pitiful rascals”(223). When Huck witnessed the tar and feathers all over them, he didn’t “feel any hardness against them any more”(223). Here was a boy who went from being willing to be apart of a gang, to a caring, sensitive, sympathetic person. His morals and good heart led him to feel the pain and sadness for two male frauds.

The reason why Huck changed so drastically is because when he was on his own with nobody to look out for him, he had no choice but to look out for himself. He got the opportunity to see first hand what life is really like in the world. Huck’s experience with frauds, family feuds, killings, cheats and liars enlightened him of what the real world is like. The more he struggled with others he came across through his “adventure”, the more he showed compassion for others; particularly Jim.

Mark Twain did a very good job portraying Huck Finn as a typical individual with problems, who finds himself. Deep down Huck possesses a kind heart that readers don’t notice because he failed to let it show. He handled his problems by experiencing life independently. He made decisions on his own and took certain actions that he felt were the wisest. Huck, at the same time, found that gentle quality that was hiding within. There was a switch from “fitting in” and being an intolerable teen to a boy who is a loving, warm individual deep down. Huck’s attempt to help a slave become free while risking everything he had back home, makes this novel a classic. Mark Twain’s usage of unique characteristics are the framework for the novel and increases the readers’anticipation for the ending. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn analyses Huck and becomes such a significant novel for the main reason that readers can see that remarkable switch leading toward inner compassion and become familiar with the person who Huck really is.


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