The Adventures of Huck Finn by Mark Twain


Throughout the Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) novel,
The Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn, a plain and striking
point of view is expressed by the author. His point of view
is that of a cynic; he looks upon civilized man as a
merciless, cowardly, hypocritical savage, without want of
change, nor ability to effect such change. Thus, one of
Mark Twain's main purposes in producing this work seems
clear: he wishes to bring to attention some of man's often
concealed shortcomings. While the examples of Mark Twain's
cynic commentaries on human nature can be found in great
frequency all through the novel, several examples seem to
lend themselves well to a discussion of this sarcastic

In the beginning of the novel, it would seem that both Huck
Finn and Jim are trapped in some way and wishing to escape.
For Huck, it is the violence and tyranny of his drunken
father. Kept in a veritable prison, Huck wishes desperately
to escape. Jim feels the need to escape after hearing that
his owner, Miss Watson, wishes to sell him down the river-a
change in owners that could only be for the worse. As they
escape separately and rejoin by chance at an island along
the river, they find themselves drawn to get as far as
possible from their home. Their journey down the river sets
the stage for most of Mark Twain's comments about man and
society. It is when they stop off at various towns along
the river that various human character flaws always seem to
come out. Examples of this would include the happenings
after the bringing on of the Duke and King. These two con
artists would execute the most preposterous of schemes to
relieve unsuspecting townspeople of their cash. The game of
the King pretending to be a reformed
marauder-turned-missionary at the tent meeting showed that
people are gullible and often easily led, particularly when
in groups and subjected to peer pressure. The execution of
the Royal Nonesuch showed another instance of people in
society being subject to manipulation. The fact that, after
being taken by a poor show they sent rave reviews of it to
their friends to avoid admitting they had been conned
showed that people in groups are ever afraid of losing
status, and will do nearly anything to protect such. Both
the King and the Duke, also, showed such a ridiculous
degree of corruptness that it is difficult to believe that
all humans aren't at least somewhat evil. 

Another point made by the author is that of most men being
basically cowards. A good example of this was when Col.
Sherburn shot the drunk Boggs and the townsfolk came after
Sherburn to lynch him. After Sherburn, one man with only a
shotgun, held off the immense mob and made them disperse,
it was obvious that no individual really had the courage to
go through with the lynching. The idea that people are
basically savages, confined for the moment by society, is
shown in more than one instance, such as when the group was
preparing to hang Huck and the King over their plot to
defraud the daughters, or, more obvious, in the war between
the Shephardsons and the Grangerfords. The aspect of people
being basically hypocrites is seen at the beginning when
Miss Watson displays a degree of hypocriticality on
insisting that Huck follow the Widow and become civilized,
while at the same time deciding to sell Jim into a hard
life down the river. 

A final point seems to be that Man is continually fleeing
from something. At the end, Jim and Huck found themselves
at the end of their journey, neither having anything left
to run from as Huck's father was dead and Jim was a free
man. It would seem, then that Huck and Jim had run a
thousand miles down the river and ended up where they had
started from. From the above examples, one can see some of
the author's point in producing 'Huck Finn.' It is apparent
that Mark Twain wishes society to realize its shortcomings
and the limitations imposed by human nature. He realizes
that people will not change, but feels that they should be
aware of who they are, of what comes with this thing we
call humanity. That is Mark twain's main purpose in writing
this novel. 


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