Huck Finn

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a great adventure book. Main character Huck can not stand civilization and he runs away. On his way he finds a runaway black slave name Jim. Huck is confused if he should turn Jim in, or help him escape. They are swimming down the Mississippi River, looking for freedom. A novel, like a movie, is a form of entertainment. However, some novels do a great deal more than entertain. Some pack a social criticism. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is loaded with social criticism.

First main point of social criticism is ignorance. In this book, ignorance of black or white society is described very well. Back in 1800's education was very poor. Older people couldn't read. They started to send their kids to school. Black society couldn't get education. Anyone who taught black person to read or write should go to prison.

People weren't that smart.

They believed in everything. Huck could make everybody belief in what he said. He was a good liar.

Another example of ignorance is alcoholism and tobacco. Hucks father was a drunk. Twain describes him in a bad way. Twain wrote that Hucks father was drinking everyday. People hadn't that many activities. One of them was standing on the street and chew tobacco and spit it on the street.

Next problem that was faced in this book was a cruelty. Drunken father many times abused Huck. Also Jim abused his kids. He hit his daughter for not closing the door. People were really violent. They will do everything for the money. People were fighting on the streets for nothing. Very often they had used their guns. Good example of using guns and killing each other would be the conflict between two families Shepardson and Grangefords, which were fighting for the years.

Another example of cruelty would be a mob behavior. They would go to a person home that did something bad take him out and lynch him or kill him. People were that bored that they had to put poor dogs on fire and watch them running on the street and burning to dead.

The last problem that I will talk about and most important would be slavery. People were teaching their kids to turn in the runaway slave. That was a right thing to do. Wrong thing to do was to help slave to runaway. Huck was really confused, if he should turn in his best friend Jim, or help him escape. Later on he makes the decision of helping him runaway.

Freedom to Huck means that he won't have to be with civilization anymore or probably people. Freedom for Jim means that he will be reunited with his family. They both are escaping injustice. Both are held to the thing they are running from the law. Both have a monetary value.

The theme of the novel is that society can corrupt morality, requiring the individual to break with society to do what is right and just this theme whether to listen society's morality, or to listen to his own mind and help Jim. This conflict reaches a climax in Chapter 31.

By showing how the slavery, cruelty and ignorance were used in this book you could see how The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is fully loaded with a social criticism. In this book whites are very often described as irrational, violent, ignorant and unintelligent. Putting aside arguments against censorship in general, Twains book specifically can be defended against charges that it is racist for young people or anyone. Twain himself answered charges of impropriety by saying, "any bookshelf that contains a copy of a Bible is certainly not too proper for Huck."