Women And Huck Finn

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is a classic American adventure story. Over the course of the novel, Twain uses most women as positive characters, using them as foils to negative male characters in the novel. The author instilled in each of the main female characters positive virtues, and Huck used women and their virtues to help himself mature. This novel also exemplifies Twain's views that men were "inherently brutish," as stated by Nancy Walker, and they were often portrayed as people who lacked wisdom. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain clearly opposes many of his society's views, in particular, the roles of women.

Women, over the course of the story, were often used as foils to the negative male characters in the novel. Twain uses the Widow Douglas and her virtues to serve as a literary foil the Huck's father, Pap. Pap is a person who lacks any good qualities; he is a simply a violent, drunk man.

Many times Pap gets "wonderful fast, kicking things every which way, and striking and grabbing at the air with his hands," especially after he has had a few alcoholic drinks. Not only does Pap strike inanimate objects, but he also makes a habit of striking his son Huck. The fact that Huck goes from one adult to the next and back again with no real transition period in-between makes the dramatic difference between the Widow Douglas and Pap even more distinct. Huck learns many values from the widow, values that he could have never been able to get from his father. Another literary foil in the story involves Mary Jane, the King, and the Duke. The King and the Duke are conmen. The only reason they meet Mary Jane is because they con the Wilks...