The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain transports the reader back in time giving a unique perspective of the world. Huck Finn is a wild, uneducated adolescent who by chance came into a large sum of money. Huck is constantly searching for a place where he feels free. He's not looking for trouble, but somehow trouble always finds him. Throughout the story, Huck is haunted by the ever present bad influence of his friend, Tom Sawyer. Huck Finn, being less "learned" than Tom, is always measuring himself against Sawyer. At the conclusion of Huck's story, he finally sees Tom for what he really is, and stops attempting to be him. Their relationship plays a huge role in developing the novel, and gives the reader an idea of how much more mature Huck Finn is compared to Tom Sawyer.
Tom Sawyer has one solitary goal in life, having adventures exactly like the ones he reads about in stories.
No matter how ridiculous the idea, Tom coerces the young boys around him to take part in the nonsensical plans. In the beginning, Tom and his foolish plans have on consequences, but in the end his actions affect other people. In Tom's mind, the more difficult something is to achieve, the more worthy a task it is. All he is interested in is generating talk and becoming a hero just like the stories he reads. This need for excitement and adventure nearly gets him killed, and Jim and Huck along with him. He has no common sense and is always belittling Huck's simpler more sensible plans. "What's the good of a plan that ain't no more trouble than that?..... It wouldn't make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory:"( ) Tom always seems to believe that the fictitious novels he reads are true, and that he, a mere child, would be able to have these great adventures. Tom Sawyer has no sense for danger, and in general no sense at all. Also, Tom is not Huck's true friend because he always seems to enjoy belittling him, and anyone else given the chance. When Tom forms his gang he has no idea about most of the tasks they must perform. When questioned all Tom can think to say is "Well, Ben Rogers, if I were as ignorant as you I wouldn't' let on." (11) The main difference about Tom and the others is, Tom is book smart, he read about all kinds of adventure. All the other children, especially Huck, are street smart. If they were put in situations like the stories, they'd be able to think of a sensible solution. In Tom's goal to have an adventure he overlooks the dangerous qualities of his imagination and endangers many who cares though, it generates talk and though Tom belittles Huck constantly, and lacks common sense, he has a huge influence on Huck.
Throughout the whole novel, Huck manages to escape from some tight situations. Unfortunately, the shadow of Tom;'s ego is always hanging over Huck. Whenever he completes a task, such as faking his own death, he thinks of how Tom would have done it. Somehow, Tom's way always has more pizzazz; if he had been the one faking his death he would have "thrown in the fancy touches." What Huck never seems to comprehend is that Tom would never have enough guts to pull such a stunt. Whenever Huck does something intelligent and sensible he thinks Tom would have done a better job and "he would "a" more style into it." (188) Also, due in most part to tom's influence, Huck has moments when he is as nonsensical as poor stupid Tom Sawyer. Huck goes looking for danger at times when he should just let things alone. The shipwreck is a great example of Huck losing common sense. The most ridiculous task that this lack of common sense creates is freeing Jim. Huck's plan of stealing the key and letting Jim out is "'too blame simple." for the adventure driven Tom. Instead, he has to go about performing silly tasks he read about in books, because everything he reads in books is right. No matter how stupid the plan "it's the right way - and it is the regular way and there ain't no other way"' (234). Even though Huck questions these silly plans he always believes Tom knows best because he's read all these books, and the way he was brought up must make him more intelligent. Tom holds a strong influence over Huck, which is never completely severed until the conclusion of the novel.
Tom Sawyer has a blinding obsession with adventures, and becoming a hero like the storybooks heros he's always reading about. This obsession causes Tom to do everything the hard way because he needs to make every simple task more exciting. This need for excitement demonstrates his lack of common sense even though he has no idea what he is talking about, he acts like an expert simply because he's read about these things in books. Tom never stops to consider the consequences of his actions or whether they endanger someone. While rescuing Jim, everything has to be done by the book, even though none of it applies to the situation at hand. On top of that, Tom has the audacity to call people who want to do things the easy way foolish. He even tells Jim not to act so foolish after Tom suggests he needs a snake for a pet. Of course, Tom doesn't know that Jim has been bitten by a snake in the past, but he doesn't stop to consider the danger. For Tom, everything to make an adventure more exciting and gossip worthy is worth any risk. Although, he books Tom always based his foolhardy plans always had the hero succeeding, and tom never stopped to think real life may be different. Even when he gets shot, he was even happier than Jim who had just been set free. He "was the gladdest" of all because he had a bullet in the calf of his leg." (264). It would appear to any sane person that Tom wouldn't mind getting killed, as long as people talked about his heroics after he died.
Throughout the novel Huck Finn grows as a person, and shows himself to be worth 10 of Tom Sawyer, educated or not. Yet, Huck is always saying to himself that Tom would have done a better job and put more pizza in it. We as a reader know that Tom would do nothing of the sort, because he would never be put in these situations. Huck is not living off of Tom's adventures, but rather the opposite. In the end of the novel, Huck finally realizes that none of Tom's adventures are serious or sensible. Tom is living in an imaginary world where the hero always gets the girl, and never dies. Huck sees that this view of life is not realistic. Huck rejects Tom's final suggestion for adventure going after Injuns. He already realizes that another adventure is going to begin for him. After all he's been civilized before and he can't stand it.
Seeing the world through the eyes of a wild adolescent, Huck Finn, allows the reader to experience both the physical and mental growth of human beings. Through Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer the reader discovers that having an education does not necessarily make a person intelligent. In Tom's case, the more books he read the more ridiculous his ideas become. Even though his ideas are hare brained, Tom Sawyer leaves a lasting impression on Huck Finn throughout the story. Huck is always measuring his actions against those of Tom's. In the end of the novel, Huck Finn finally sees Tom for what he really is, a kid obsessed with adventures regardless of the consequences. Huck rejects Tom's way and instead sets out to create his own adventures in being "civilized."