Huckleberry Finn As A Commentary On Race English Essay

1505 words - 7 pages

Huckleberry Finn Essay
“Human beings can be awful cruel to one another”
-Huckleberry Finn
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, author Mark Twain describes a series of events that Huckleberry Finn, the protagonist, experiences as he journeys down the Mississippi. Finn’s actions are driven by two main factors, his conscience, and the runaway slave Jim. Often times throughout the book while performing an action, he would stop and ponder as to how Tom would do things and at other times, take pride in knowing Tom couldn’t have done any better. As for Jim, Finn’s experiences with the runaway slave begin to make Finn think deeply about his conscience. Huckleberry Finn, though wild natured and possessing coarse habits, is a polite and well-mannered boy which is a surprise considering his background. His relationship with Jim is developed throughout the book and it is in this growing relationship that Huckleberry Finn matures and comes into his own. The innocence Huck has, having had to make his own opinions in regards to race due to not being influenced by his parents, leads him to have a true friendship in a time of intense racial discrimination.
Huckleberry Finn has been dealt an unfortunate hand by life but somehow, he has risen above his misfortunes. He stays with the Widow Douglas who cares for him as her own and provides for him. His father, a drunkard who abuses and solicits money from his son when he sees him, kidnaps and attempts to put a halt to his education, saying that his son is “putting on airs.” The only mention of Huck’s mother comes when his father says, “Your mother couldn’t read, and she couldn’t write, nuther, before she died (Twain, 19).” With his father not influencing him and with his mother being dead, Huck is made to determine his own interpretations of his surroundings through the experiences of him and his friends. Huck isn’t excited about seeing his father due to the beatings and violent behavior. However, he is fine with leaving school and the widow’s as he sees staying there as attempts to “sivilize” him and take away the wild, outdoors, carefree habits he prefers (Twain, 1). After staying with his father for a while, Huck runs away and devises a ruse that fakes his death and ensures a clean getaway without anyone looking for him. Unbeknownst to Huck, Jim runs away at the same time, leaving the townspeople no choice but to pin Huck’s “death” on Jim. Huck and Jim journey together towards Cairo where Jim would become a free man. The time they spend together on this journey develops their friendship and impacts Huck’s views.
The development of Huck and Jim’s relationship occurs mostly inside Huck. Twain provides instances that contradict the moral growth of Huck towards Jim. In the opening chapters of the book, he refers to Jim as “Miss Watson’s big N-word, named Jim (Twain, 5)” and then as “Miss Watson’s N-word Jim (Twain, 17).” This changes as they spend more time together and Huck refers to Jim as just “Jim.” This shows...

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