“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Essay
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The intolerance of the 19th century, and part of the 20th century are the basis of Samuel Langhorn Clemens’ book, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. ” Samuel Langhorn Clemen’s, more commonly referred to as Mark Twain, incorporates a variety of underlying themes that are very prominent throughout his book. These idea’s deal with issues that we like to think have been abolished in the 1800’s. The social reform that Huck goes through shows us, that even though he is uneducated and improper, he is the most “sivilized” of all the characters that Mark Twain presents to us.
The main contrast in the book is the attitudes referring to the racial segregation that was prominent throughout North America and the United Kingdom. Huck and Jim’s journey on the raft can be seen superficially as just a journey between a young innocent boy and a escaped slave who have a set of adventures on a boat, however it can be read and analyzed to see that there are more important issues that Mark Twain was trying to present to us. However there are many other themes, which include the superstition, brother hood and the distinction between rouges and kings and the fine line that separates them.
At the beginning of the play Huck Finn is scolded by the widow, his guardian, because of his dirty clothes and sailors mouth because he is not ‘sivilized,’ and can not be accepted into society. When Huck decided that he does not want to be restricted by the constraints of society, Tom Sawyer has a word with Huck about his tardy appearance, and if he doesn’t become proper he will not be able to join his gang of murder’s and thieves.
“But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be proper. 1 Throughout the literature, Huck struggles immensely to try and impress the widow, by trying to be proper. In the beginning of the journey, Huck allows Jim to travel with him when he finds him in hiding on Jackson’s Island. Huck believes that he would be a likely addition to the journey, but then seems to have strong feelings of remorse and compunction in bringing Jim along. It is fair to say, that Huck regarded Jim as an object, that belonged to him. Huck had many an opportunity to return Jim to his life of previously existent slavery.
The thought had crossed his mind on many occasions, and his apparent guilt showed through. He tried to battle the idea if liberating a slave was a good thing or a sin, because it would be stealing property from the slave owner. Towards the latter of the play, Huck started to appreciate Jim as a man. He slowly hears Jim’s stories which accredits Jim with normal, human emotions, and removes the foreign perception associated with black people. As Huck’s acceptance and adoration for Jim grows, the more that Huck’s previously taught views of correct and proper society is expelled.
This is evident when Huck goes through elaborate plans to protect Jim from slave hunters on the raft, and the expulsion of society is illustrated when days on the raft are spent smoking while naked. We know that the widow would not approve, but Huck doesn’t seem to care. It is ironic that Huck would not be accepted into proper civil society, but by breaking through the restrictions that society has placed on him, Huck ends up the most humane and civil, with his attitudes concerning Jim.
As Huck blatantly defies society by rescuing and helping Jim, we have another theme that is evading the harshness of society by seclusion. We can see that Huck and Jim are the happiest when they are on the raft. “We said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seemed so cramped up and smothers, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. ” They do not generally need to worry themselves with rules and general regulations. The next motif that is dealt with is that of ranks in society.
By introducing the ‘King’ and the ‘Duke’ we see Twain’s view on Royalty and people with authority. We know that the men are not of importance, but just lowlife crooks “It didn’t take me to long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to my self… ” [Twain, 125-126] If Huck had exposed them, even to Jim, we would not have had the deeper meaning of different structures and ranks in society.
Regardless of ones title and position in society, if they are the King, the Duke or the President, it doesn’t make them more sophisticated or more humane. “But, Huck, dese Kings o’ ourn is regular rapscallions; dat’s jist what dey is; dey’s regular rapscallions. ” “Well, that’s what I’m a-saying : all Kings is mostly rapscallions as fur as I can make out. ” [Twain, 152] This shows us that all society, regardless of position and importance is full of scoundrels. The King and the Duke are motivated by greed, and result in them pulling of defrauding scams.
They have no concern for those losing their money, and go to the extent of robbing 3 little girls, who are now orphans. The King and Duke have an elaborate plan for cleaning out the little girls for everything that they own. This makes Huck disgusted and embarrassed to be part of the same human race as these people. ‘Well, if I ever struck anything like it, I’m a nigger. It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race. ‘ [Twain, 160] The king and the duke represent typical society very well in their lifestyle. Mark Twain satires them for the purpose of making society realize what they are doing wrong.
The themes that Mark Twain discusses in his novel, even those not mentioned here focus on the root principle of the intolerance and prejudices of society. Twain rises up against the preconceived notion of a perfect society, and hierarchy of whites over blacks, and teaches us some very important lessons in life. In this highly enjoyable novel, not only did Mark Twain ridicule the idea of inferiority amongst difference races, but gave us the courage to speak up and formulate our own opinions regardless of what is perceived as socially acceptable