Huck Finn Portrayed as Foil

Essay by jpal22High School, 10th gradeA-, November 2014

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Jasmeet Palaha


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mini-Essay

Often times, society and one's environment influences a person to become completely different from a similar person who lived outside of that environment. In Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the main character Huck faked his death, leaving friends, family, and all of society in order to escape his father. He traveled down the Mississippi River on a raft, encountering many characters and obstacles. In the end, Huck decided to free his slave friend, Jim, with the help of his friend Tom Sawyer; however, Jim was already a free man and the two boys got into trouble by Tom's guardians. Tom Sawyer was a foil character to Huck Finn because Tom was selfish while Huck helped others, Tom viewed life as a game and acted irrationally while Huck performed responsible and purposeful actions, and Tom was socially "civilized" while Huck was not.

Tom Sawyer thought only about himself, while Huck Finn always helped others when they were in need, even if he was taught not to. After wasting months of trying to save Jim, Tom explained, "Old Miss Watson died two months ago…and she set [Jim] free in her will" (289). Tom did not understand the true consequences of Jim's situation. So much work and effort was put into attempting to free Jim, but Tom wanted to sacrifice all of it just because he wanted to entertain himself. He put his own pleasure at more importance than a man's whole life. Jim could have found his family by the time Tom finished his "game", but because of Tom, essential time was wasted. Huck Finn, on the other hand, helped others when he had absolutely nothing to gain. After men come to check if a runaway slave is on...