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Man versus Man Conflict in Huck Finn

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Man Versus man conflict is an easy element to pick up on in literature and remains to be in literature through all time and style periods. Mark Twain applying man versus man conflict in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a key to its great success holding up over time. Man versus man conflict relates to all ages and generations which make a book more interesting and enjoyable to read and using it in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn makes the book more fun to read. When reading the novel the reader will notice that the conflicts are easy to relate to modern day life and bring a great amount of excitement to the book. The types of man Versus man conflict vary throughout the book from physical fights between two individuals, verbal fights, and parents beating their kids to a lynch mob hunting down a man.

At the beginning of the book Twain begins to give some hints to some sorts of the conflicts that are going to evolve through the story. When describing the relationship between Pap (Huckleberry Finn’s father) and Huck at the beginning of the story there are obvious signs of abuse that Huck has to face that range from verbal conflicts to physical beatings, but even though physical punishment wasn’t as frowned upon back in the time of the story as it is today it was to the extend that even the people of the town grew concerned for the safety of Huck. One of the first occurrences of the verbal abuse is at the beginning of the story when Pap climbs into Huck’s window in the middle of the night demanding money for his liquor and refuses to let Huck continue his education.

While in Huck’s room trying to get his money and scare Huck out of pursuing his education Pap says, “I’ll give you something better – I’ll give you a cowhide” (Twain 25). A cowhide is like a spanking or form of physical punishment that was used often in the early days. Pap beating Huck is an example of man versus man conflict but in this case it was with a child. The conflict between Pap and Huck was mainly the only man versus child, but there were other cases in the book but are less obvious and focused on than Huck’s situation. As far as the physical conflict though there are far more through out the book.

Later in the book after Huck has already ran away and met up with Jim on the river, and began their adventure is when the exciting conflicts begin to show up. When Huck and Jim are traveling down stream they later board a large boat to hitch a ride along the river they get into a verbal conflict with the people or the boat. When they tell the people of the boat that they will need off in four or five miles they (the people of the boat) get “booming mad, and give us (Huck and Jim) a cussing” (Twain 190). The cussing was a harsh verbal beating that the people let out due to their frustration with Huck and Jim. The cussing on the boat is only a minor example of a verbal conflict between characters, but shows Twain using a variety of conflicts to keep the reader’s interest. As the story progresses the conflicts become more exciting and appealing to the reader. Twain also builds conflicts and stretches them out through different events to build up to a more dramatic or exciting conflict.

At one point in the book when Colonel Sherburn hears someone is talking bad about him and going around town talking non sense all day, Colonel Sherburn confronts him in the middle of town and says if you don’t stop taking about me before noon I will find you and shoot you. Well later that day the man is still talking about him and the Colonel walks up to him and shoots him right in the middle of town. After doing this the town starts to talk and realizes that what Colonel Sherburn did was wrong and they form a mob and go to hunt down the Colonel at his house. Instead of turning this into a bloody show down like it is expected to be, Twain sets it up to be defused by Colonel Sherburn insulting the mob and making them feel like cowards for trying to come lynch him like they had planned.

While bringing the book to an end and wrapping up all the loose ends Twain still manages to throw in some good conflict to keep the attention of all the readers and ensure the excitement to remain at its fullest. When Huck and Jim are running the King and Duke out of town they get them on a shit and run into another one of their many predicaments, “When they got aboard, the king went for me(Huck), and shook me by the collar…”(Twain 240). Then later on as the book is coming to an end, and Huck is on one of his last adventures of his journey, rescuing Jim from the farm there is one of the bigger conflicts.

Not only do they (Huck and Tom) get physically worn down and hurt while escaping from the farm but the men shout, “after ’em, Boys! And turn loose the dogs!” (Twain 317). This is when the men get to their final resort and have to bring dogs in to hunt them down. That is another example of how Twain manipulates conflicts to go from man versus man into something else and in that case it changes into man versus nature.

Over all The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn turned out to be a great and exciting book. Mark Twain applies many different techniques when producing his conflicts for the book. When choosing to write an adventure story and putting in so many conflicts Twain instantly made his book a great piece of literature because conflicts are easily related to every age and generation. When reading the novel readers can easily identify and learn about the characters based on how they fit in and relate to each conflict. When reading “Huckleberry Finn” readers of all ages and generations are in for a delightful adventure book that will forever live on as a classic piece of literature, and they will always recognize the book for all the excitement Mark Twain produces in it.

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