Huckleberry Finn Essay


     Our previous article was about Internet addiction. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written in 1885 by Mark Twain is his key work. “This is our best book, - Ernest Hemingway wrote, - all the American literature came out of it.” He meant broadest aspect influence of the literary writing: its democracy and humanity, its flexibility and a new language for the world`s literature, simple and the most closely resembling conversational speech. All of the above has become features of American literature.

     Adventures of Huckleberry Finn novel links up with the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. You will be able to see the same characters and the same action period here. This piece though discloses more of a mature position of the author, embraces richer all the sides of a human experience and has deeper general sense. Pure artistic evolution of the writer is equally obvious. Style of Twain being completely formed in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer as one of the best in American literature, light, sharp and sensitive to dialect nuances now moved into new quality.   

      Here, the writer went back to his preferred time-tried form of narration in the first person and made a hero-narrator Huck, a homeless beggar, a child of the crowd instead of Tom the boy coming from a bourgeois family. It had a double effect. First, masterfully created, strong and picturesque, truly grass-roots language, the book was written in gives a picture of American life some special plastic expression, makes an impression of a conversation with no middlemen involved as if America itself spoke of itself. Secondly, it let see deeper and fuller the character of the hero, which was briefly described in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, show his personal becoming.  

     Huck`s mind is free from romantic cliché and his character was formed by reality. He does not have any outside attributes on display but he possesses all the essential benefits. Nature gave him a strong faithful heart open for every miserable person and rejecting impudent force whatever it is manifested itself in. Huck has a sense of internal independence, which makes him run from satisfaction and comfort, which widow Douglas offered him into the wide menacing world. His love for freedom are rejection of hypocrisy, bourgeois prosperity and authorized lie.

     Comparing to the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, there is new, significant enough feature in the character of Huck, which is a civic courage. Twain makes an active participant of social conflict out of Huck from the very first chapters. He is a defender and concealer of escape slave. At that, saving Jim from slave-merchants, he risks to lose a freedom of his own. Twain emphasizes though that the necessity of fight for Jim`s freedom resides in Huck as well as hatred to everything what discommodes himself. Let it be not quite realized, Huck`s fight for social justice makes his rebellion deeper socially than in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer.    

     Huck`s character is shown in development and this development is motivated convincingly. Huck has grown up on the south where slave owning applies a seal on how every white person thinks. He tries to get through slave owners prejudice for quite some time in conscience of his own until a man conquers ultimately over southerner within him, until he ultimately remains faithful to Jim. At all times, the character lives in the environment he has grown in and at the same time depicts him in the condition of unstoppable fight with prejudice of this environment. Dialectic contradiction based in the core of the image makes him especially alive and dynamic, gives him psychological authenticity.   

     It is symptomatically that Huck, a party of society, gets higher level of the social ladder than a Negro does in the novel. However, just like Huck goes beyond Tom in his courage and mental qualities, a Negro Jim goes beyond Huck in his faithfulness and natural courage. In order to depict a black man the most noble person in the novel, in order to draw a picture of friendship between a white and a black man, a friendship, which gave a lot to both of them, - to do so, a big deal of bravery and courage were required in America of 1880`s.     

     Greater than or equal to bravery and courage were required from Twain the artist so generally accepted rules of literary language were broken for the sake of truth to nature. Impassioned debate around the novel after it to come out was an evidence of the fact how innovative the writing was. Polite literature devotees who demanded a perfectly round style, a perfect hero of virtue and surely a well-bread behavior, cauterized the book as “indecent, vulgar and rough.” In Concord (Massachusetts) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was withdrawn of city libraries as a “trash suitable for dust hole only.”   

            Realists took a novel as innovative and of high artistic merit writing. Joel Chandler Harris determined the essence of the book by Mark Twain briefly and meaningfully: “This is life.”

     The main disadvantage of Twain`s technique was overcome in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or, better to say, “passed over” namely composition inefficient arrangement Twain had since the reporting times. Almost all the books written by the writer are different with its free composition, close to associative thinking, which his friend William Dean Howells advise him to fight with. If to speak about the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, this disadvantage turned into a vivid advantage. It turned out to be exceptionally organic with the artist`s intention: free composition of the novel surprisingly corresponds with very important image of a big river on the background of which picturesque images of life are developed decorated with a sense of humor, a fable, melodrama, original tragic element.

     An image of a full-flowing river Mississippi not only combines actions but also by contrast shades pettiness and pointlessness of human passions and ambitions: images come and go and the river keeps going through America. The river is a condition of Huck`s soul – takes away his worries, gives him peace and wisdom. The image of a big river embodies freedom, which the heroes of the novel strives for, - Huck escaping from his monstrous father and running away Negro Jim and adds his strivings an eternal, no temporal meaning.  

     The escape of Jim and Huck from slave owning states and their journey across the river seeking for freedom is an inner spring of the novel, moving its plot. It lets Twain to broaden the frames of narration, to unfold a wide picture of American reality. The story opens way darker sides of life than random dramas in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer: ignorance and sadism of white beggars, cowardice of the crowd, who is going to organize a lynch law, merchants` skin game, pointless enmity of rich landowners.    

     Fear hides behind this all. Not only an eeriness of a sensitive teenager or a Negro Jim. This is completely real and substantiate fear of endless chain of robberies, beatings, drownings and murderers. With each road turn, behind each river bend, a danger of death through violence is opened up. The main characters turn out to be thrown away into this cruel world: homeless orphan-boy and fugitive slave Jim, who relying on each other`s faith only, try not to get under the horrific pressure of white and adults superiority.

     Friendship between white and colored Americans on the strength of their love for freedom who equally turned out to be cast away of the “decent society” – this is Cooper`s discovery, developed in an innovative way by Twain. Different age of the characters, originally forced corporation, total (even though imaginary) dependence from one another (older from younger) make Huck and Jim independent paired antitype of American literature (The Grass Harp by Truman Capote, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and others). 

     The story told by Twain about slavery and freedom, death and rebirth (in order to escape from father, Huck cunningly staged his death) has not only a particular meaning but also a symbolism within. This is not about legalized slavery of black Americans but also about white man to be unfree, enslaved by social conventions and prejudice of environment, not only about “rebirth” of the hero after his imaginary death but also about real birth of his personality gained a mental breadth. Huck`s and Jim`s striving to freedom is at the same time an eternal flush of a human for spiritual release. Freedom is connected with the river (for which read: frame of mind)but not with North or South. Our writers would want to help you if you accept their help.

     Twain`s generation has created a new literary language, put a bridge to Europe, theoretically defined further steps of American literature development and, therefore, prepared appearance of younger fellow men, naturalist writers: Frank Norris, Alex Garland, Hart Crane, Jack London, Theodore Dreiser.The latter out of the list began the counting in the literature of XX century. The world of these writers` books, in essence, is the one they all came out, was not the one of traditional culture and traditional moral norms, which was considered to be a fault of youth of 1890-1900`s originally. It was the world of the farmers, petty traders and disappointed priests, screevers and prostitutes. Our service will be happy if you placed an order on our website.