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Huckleberry Finn


 In the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck goes through 
many adventures on the Mississippi River. He escapes from Pap and 
sails down the Mississippi with an escaped slave named Jim. Huck goes 
through the moral conflict of how wrong it is to be helping Jim escape 
to freedom. Eventually Huck decides he will help Jim and actually 
steals him from a farmer with the help of Tom Sawyer, a friend. 
Eventhough Huck and Jim are trying to sail to the Ohio River which 
leads to freedom, they pass it in the dark.

 Over the course of the novel Huck's opinion of Jim changes. In the 
beginning of their voyage, Huck feels he shouldn't be helping Jim to 
freedom and almost turns him in to slave catchers Twain 87 "I was 
paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this 
(that Huck is his one and only friend) it seemed to take the tuck all 
out of me.". Huck begins to enjoy having Jim's company, and when Jim 
is sold by the Duke and the King, Huck breaks down and cries while 
asking the Duke where Jim is Twain 208 "'sold him' I says, and begun 
to cry; 'why he was my nigger, and that was my money. Where is he?-- I 
want my nigger.". Then Huck steals Jim from the Phelps farm 
(eventhough he was already set free by Miss Watson's will). Huck Finn
changes as we go through the story because Jim is really almost his 
slave and he grows to like having Jim wait on him.

 In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain depicts Southern life and society 
in the 1870's. The main point that Twain makes is that Southern life 
is not as glorious as it's made out to be. We can tell this be several 
ironies between the way Southern life was depicted and the way Twain 
describes them. One of the ironies is that plantation owners were 
supposed to be like kings, but Twain takes one of these "kings", 
Colonel Sherburn and has him kill Boggs, the town drunk. If these 
plantation owners were kings they'd have no reason to be killing 
drunks. Another irony is that Southern society is supposed to be based 
on European aristocracy, but in reality the characters in this book 
are nothing but loafers and idiots. They are quick to pass judgment 
like when Huck tells the slave catchers that people on his raft have 
smallpox (on page 88) and they instantly believe him and give him 
money. Violence is the general outcome of most situations in this 
novel. An example of this is the funeral when a dispute arises when 
the real Wilkses arrive they decide that they'll kill all four of them 
Twain 195 "The whole billin' of 'm 's frauds! Le's duck 'em! Le's 
drown 'em! Le's ride 'em on a rail!". Mary Jane is a good example of 
one of the few good intelligent Southerners in this book.

 In Huck Finn Twain uses women throughout the novel. Some of the 
women like Mary Jane and Mrs. Loftus (when Huck dresses as a girl) are 
used to help Huck. Mary Jane aids in catching the Duke and King, and 
Mrs. Loftus gives Huck some valuable information Twain 57 "...but 
husband's going over to see (if Jim's on Jackson Island)- him and 
another man". Another way women are used in this novel is as 
controlling figures. The widow and Miss Watson are two character who 
try to control or "sivilize" Huck and are generally viewed as bad 

 It may be suprising but Huck Finn wasn't considered a racist for 
the time that this story occured. Huck Finn acted and thought just 
like many other Southerners Twain 213 "..(Huck)We blowed out a 
cylinder head. (Aunt Sally) Good gracious! Anybody hurt? (Huck) No'm 
killed a nigger. (A.Sally) Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people 
do get hurt." Back then negros were treated as objects or animals. The 
word 'nigger' was the normal word for a black person. That is why this 
book is so controversial today. In any case Huck Finn is a good story, 
and a great example of literature from that time.


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