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Huck Finn - Mark Twain's Views


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 view. 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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