Human Nature exposed in the single-most important piece of American Literature, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain

Essay by Phil CannistraHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 1996

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More than a century ago, Mark Twain probably composed the single-most important piece of American Literature to ever be composed. This work, widely known as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, essentially follows young Huck on a series of adventures and experiences with his close friend (and runaway slave), Jim, as they both escape society's burdens. The novel, in a sense, encompasses everything good, bad and in between about and concerning the society of that time. A majority of the novel takes place along the Mississippi river, with Young Huck, and Jim each striving to attain a common goal, freedom from the woes of society. In their journey, they come across many different people, and encounter many strange and new experiences that all relate to a common theme that is evident throughout the novel. As their journey progresses, the reader witnesses many horrific and surprising acts, all performed by none other than man himself.

Looking deeper into the symbolistic meaning of many of these passages reveals that man, in essence , is cruel, silly, and hypocritical in nature.

Through his writing, it becomes apparent that Twain supports the thematic idea of the human race being hypocritical. For instance, take the scene in Chapter 20 where a group of people in Arkansas are listening to the sermon of a preacher. In this descriptive passage, it can be inferred through Twain's writing that the average person of this time was in fact 'blinded' by religious influences. The significance of this event can be observed later on in Chapter 21 where Twain describes the horrific abuse of animals. 'There couldn't anything wake them up all over, and make them happy all over, like a dog-fight--unless it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him...' (Twain 140). In putting...