Huckleberry Finn Vs. Tom Sawyer Essay, Research Paper
In the novel, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain uses a contrast of
characters to bring out the Society vs. Freedom aspect of the novel through the
two characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Tom Sawyer, throughout the
novel, uses rules and what is “always done in the books” to control how he and
Huck do things. On the other hand, Huck goes for the simple things that help
him and come the easiest to him when planning things out.
In the beginning of the novel Tom tries to start a band of robbers and brings
all of his gang to a secret hide-out to sort out the details and rules that they
would abide by. Tom Sawyer is always telling his little gang how they have to
follow the books that he has read `cause that is how it is done and it would not
be right to do otherwise. For example, When Tom brings up the act of ransoming
people, and none of the boys know what that is, they agree that they probably
should take it out of the oath. Tom disagrees and says, “Why blame it all,
we’ve got to do it. Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to
doing things different than what’s in the
books, and get things all muddled up?” (12). Since all the boys want to follow
Tom, they keep in the part about ransoming even though they do not know exactly
what it is. This brings out Tom’s character as a boy that follows the rules
very clearly and tries to be like society.
Also, when he tells Huck about the Arabs with all the jewels, elephants, and
camels that they are going to go attack and they end up in a Sunday school
picnic, Tom tries to tell Huck that they were hidden by Genies because Tom uses
his imagination and romanticism. Huck tries really hard to believe him but he
just cannot, and ends up just asking a lot of questions. Finally when Tom
cannot answer any more he just says to Huck, “Shucks, it ain’t no use to talk to
you, Huck Finn. You don’t seem to know anything, somehow—–perfect slap head”
(18). Huck goes on and tries the Genie thing anyway and still it does not work,
so he gives up and just thinks Tom is crazy.
Huck, on the other hand, does not follow society’s way of thinking like Tom
does. Huck does everything that he wants to when he wants. He lives outside,
either in the woods or on his raft with Jim. The few times he does try to live
and work with society he gets so worked up and confused on how people and things
work, that he leaves and returns to his home with the river and nature where he
feels safe. For example in the end of Chapter 18, after escaping from the
Gragerford’s home at the end of the fight over
the feud, Huck gets back to where he is happiest on the raft and says to Jim,
“…there weren’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places seem so cramped
up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and
comfortable on a raft” (137). In this sense Huck is the opposite of Tom and his
urge to fit in with society’s restrictions.
Twain shows a direct contrast in their relationship near the end of the novel
when they meet up by accident at Aunt Sally’s house and try to rescue Jim.
Through the process of getting him free, Twain shows the reader Tom’s strive to
be like the books he has read by making everything extra difficult. This
contrasts to Huck, who just wants to get him free and does not really care. He
shows this by coming up with simple plans that would get the job done much
faster but are much less daring. For example, when deciding which plan to use
to set Jim free, Huck, not really caring much, just goes with Tom’s idea of
digging him out instead of going through the window. But when Huck asks to use
shovels instead of case-knifes, which were much harder to use, Tom threw a fit
and gave a little speech about how case-knives were the right way to do it, and
that is the way that they did it in all the books. After a while the boys both
realized that case-knives really hurt your hand, and Tom gave in so they could
finally use a pick and shovel.
In conclusion, Twain uses the relationship between the boys to bring out the
differences between society and their romanticist ideas and Twain’s, or Huck’s,
realist ideas. Which in all of these instances turned out to be the better
choice of the two. Twain makes many other comments towards these romanticist
ideas through out the novel, but they seem to be brought out the most through
the relationship between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
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