Finn Essay, Research Paper
Mark Twain, a famous American writer-satirist wrote many books highly acclaimed throughout the world. For his masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn he was recognized by the literary establishment as one of the greatest writers America would ever produce. This novel is about a teenage boy by the name of Huck Finn whose father is an alcoholic. Because of his violence, Huck runs away and finds a runaway slave Jim. Instead of turning Jim in, Huck goes against society and makes a decision to help Jim break free from slavery. As they travel together, Huck learns more and more about Jim and starts to understand that common stereotype of black people is wrong. Huck sees that there is no difference between Jim and any white man he knows except for skin color. Risking his life and overcoming many difficulties on the way, Huck succeeds in freeing Jim. Focusing on racism, alcoholism and mob mentality, Mark Twain uses his ardent style of writing and satirizes the three traits throughout the novel.
Many words the book contains are full of vivid abhorrence towards black slaves. Every single line talks about how white people despise and refuse to accept the black race. Answering Aunt Sally’s question about whether or not anyone is hurt Huck answers, "no mum, just killed a nigger."(Twain 213) This is the one and only acceptable way to talk about black people in the "white" society. In addition to this, not only is the black people treated differently from the white, they are also considered to be one’s property. "He is the only property I have," (Twain 122) Huck is perforced to say in order to save Jim. This is the only way to get through without the essence of suspicions. Though Huck shows racism in public as society teaches him, deep inside he understands that Jim is a great person. Through the eyes of Huck Finn, Mark Twain shows that there is more to people then looks and race, showing the importance of beliefs and character.
Alcoholism is another human weakness Twain satirizes in his novel, constantly accentuating the drunk and violent father of Huck in a very negative manner. "I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn’t too drunk to get there,"(Twain 27) said Pap with a racist remark, implying the fact that he will never vote anyway just because the government let one very intelligent black professor vote. Even if Mark Twain is to compare Pap to black Jim who literally thinks about and mentions his family and children every single day. Pap doesn’t even deserve to be compared to a kind and warm-hearted slave. The only time a Pap feel it is necessary to visit Huck is when he needs money, which leads to something else: "He chased me with a clasp knife and saying he would kill me."(Twain 29) In essence, money is the only thing Pap really needs from Huck. When he spends all of it on whiskey, what can happen to Huck is not an issue anymore.
Mob mentality-another profoundly related issue in the novel. Failure to use one’s instinct, and following someone else’s is one valid example in life, and fits in well with the story line. "Take up a collection for him, take up a collection," (Twain 128) somebody sang out and everyone fatuously accepted the statement as said, not taking the time to perceive the actual meaning. King took advantage of such gullibility, making people believe that he is a pirate, and getting the priest to help him find a path to God. Because nobody took the time to probe the absurdity in the speech given by King, he took advantage of the passiveness of people and got away with a significant amount of stolen money. Somebody from the crowd yelled, "Sherburn ought to be lynched"(Twain 140). In no time the people in the crowd were repeating this statement word for word en masse. As the sheriff, standing on the top of a roof shot from his gun, the crowed etched asunder and ran off. Mob mentality is an essential factor and plays a big role in trickery -also a big issue in the book. Huck gave it all his best, and was able to avoid mob mentality and go with his instincts, which were proved to be the most logical ones, and helped him make a friend out of it.
Mark Twain is an exceptional writer. Using Huck Finn and slave Jim as his prophets, he passes on some valuable messages, one of which being similar to a book being judged by its cover. Twain’s ardent style of writing allows him to actually emulate conversations as they are, including various types of slang and argot. This particular piece of writing left many readers grieving over the content and imitation of reality. Though racism is part of the story, the moral of the story is clear: there is more to people than color, just like there is more to a book than its cover. Keeping that in mind, Mark Twain chose to satirize racism, alcoholism and mob mentality, and made his message clear.
Clemens, Samuel L. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 1884. New York: Bantam Books, 1981