, Research Paper
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck considers himself to be an ignorant fool, and an over all bad person that should be looked down upon. However, through out his story, without ever realizing it, Huck manages to live through many incredible advetures, and commit unselfish acts that would consider him to be a true hero. It could even be taken to the extent that Huck Finn lived a more down to earth version of Homer s Odyssey. After all, they are both stories of a reliable person going through the biggest adventures of their lives, while facing certain types of monsters, while using their cleverness in order to escape many obstacles. Tho only main difference in this is the fact that while Odysseus faced more mythical challenges, Huck braved through the challenges of his modern society, and the types of people in it. But even so, one could easily say that Huckleberry Finn made almost the exact same journey as Odysseus, with a slightly modern twist added to it. To start, both characters have reasonings behind their journeys as to why they start it. Odysseus began his sea bound adventure because of the fact that he was allowed his freedom from Calypso, who has been holding him captive in hopes of turning him into her husband. So Odysseus is allowed to set sail back to his homeland. Huck set out his adventure because he was attempting to escape from his drunken Pap, who was holding him captive in order to get money. Huck manages to escape on a raft, and set sail. At the end of Huck s adventure, he does in fact end up in what will be his home. The two scenario s are similar for many reasons. For example, both Huck and Odysseus are being held captive for one reason or another. Calypso wanting Odysseus for a husband is just like Pap wanting Huck for his money. To add on to this point, both of them manage to escape throught the use of a raft. The only difference there is the fact that Odysseus is setting sail through the seas, while Huck takes on his adventure through the Mississsippi River.
Next in comparison between the two stories would be the use of monsters x used throught out the adventures. In The Odyssey, Odysseus is forced into fights and challenges that largely deal with monsters, such as the Cyclops, which is a giant, single red eyed beast with the body of a human. Odysseus is trapped with some of his men in a cave with the Cyclops, who eats several of them, and tries to kill the others. While it sleeps, Odysseus stabs the Cyclops eye, which blinds the enormous beast. However, it still is alive and continues its attempts to trap and kill Odysseus and his men. Odysseus manages to fool the Cyclops with his ability to think quickly, and rides on the belly of one of the Cyclops sheep in order to escape. Huck Finn uses similar quick thinking to overcome his own version of Cyclops, his Pap. This would be in chapter six, where Pap goes into a drunken frenzy, and attempts to grab Huck and kill him. During this, Huck makes several references to Pap s eyes, by saying that he is .blind drunk, x (page 28), and then says, . I never see a man look so wild in the eyes x (page 28 sic). Fourtunately, Pap passes out before he can kill Huck. From there, Huck grabs his Pap s gun and aims it right at Pap, but falls asleep without ever actually shooting him. The next morning, Pap wakes Huck, taking the gun from him, and then asks why Huck had the gun. Huck, through his use of quick thinking, says, .Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him, x (page 30) and fools his father. These two situations compare in both Odysseus and Huck s similar revelance to one another. First, it shows their ability to think quickly in a tight situation in order to escape under pressure. Odysseus escapes by thinking to ride the sheep s belly, where the Cyclops cannot reach them. Huck usese this quick thinking by telling his father a lie, that somebody was outside and needed the gun for protection in case of an attack. Next would be the heavy similarity between Huck s Pap and the Cyclops. They are both locking the two narrators into a space that they believe that the narrators cannot break free from (and in both cases, the heroes break free). Nex would be how Huck describes his Pap s eyes, almost as if Pap were the Cyclops. When Huck says .blind drunk, x it is almost a reference to the fact that Odysseus blinds the Cyclops. Another point of attention made toward Pap s eyes is when Huck says how wild they are. It is the fact that Pap s drunken frenzy is much like the Cyclops savage behavior. They only major difference between the two is that the Cyclops is mythical, and Pap is a much more realistic character. Already is the fact that both Odysseus and Huck are held against their own will in the beginning of their stories. Every time they manage to escape, they end up being trapped again later. The first time odysseus is trapped is in the beginnning of his story, where he is being held captive by Calypso, who wants to make him her husband. Although, this compares strongly to Pap holding Huck catpive for money, it also compares to the very beginning of the story, where Huck is living with Widow Douglas, where Huck says, .She took me in for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me. x (page 1 sic) Of course, just like Odysseus was found yearning for freedom by Hermes, Huck shows his longing for escape and freedom by saying, .When I couldn t stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. x (page 1) The reasoning behind both characters being held hostage is similar. Calypso wants to marry Odysseus, which is much like how the Wodow Douglas wants Huck to be civilized. Either way would be a change in lifestyle for both.
Traveling by sea is another strong similarity used through out the stories. Not only the fact that both start off traveling on a small raft or canoe, but the fact that they are both thrown into danger while on their vessels. In The Odyssey, Odysseus men are punished for eating The Cattle of the Sun, by being thrown into a sudden storm. where Odysseus is thrown overboard, and narrowly escapes. This is much like Huck s run in with a ferryboat. It comes right out of nowhere, just like the sudden storm. When it hits, Huck is thrown overboard, and is forced to swim for shore. Huck even describes the ferryboat as if it were a story by saying, .she was a big one, and she was coming in a hurry too, looking like a black cloud with rows of glowworms around it; but all of a sudden she bulged out, big and scary. x (page 93)
Another similarity is the company of some real bad misanthropes they end up with. Odysseus, though out his story, is stuck with the crew of his ship, who are greedy, self centered men. They are the ones who looked into the bag of winds, which threw their ships way off course. They also ended up eating the sacred cattle after being warned not to, which causes Odysseus to be thrown off of his ship during the violent storm. These men are related to Huck s own unwelcome company, The Kind and Duke. These are two men who are completely filled with greed, and continually con person after person for their own needs. The best example of this would be when the two men con an entire town by pretending to be the Wilks brothers. They do this by attaining information by getting a minor, Alexander Blodgett, who gives them an entire story about two English brothers (one s a preacher, and the other deaf), who are heirs to a great fortune, but live in England. The Wilks brothers were sent notice of their other brothers death, and so far have not arrived. Should they then would be staying with their brothers daughters, Mary Jane, Susan, and Joanna. So with this new information, The Duke and King take Huck and Jim, the runaway slave, to the town, and pretend to be the Wilks brothers, and con everybody in it, while selling all of the property, and attempting to take the entire fortune. When Huck describes exactly how he feels about them, he says, .It was enough to make a body ashamed to the human race. x (page 160) The Duke and King are related with Odysseus crew because of the fact that they simply do not have any morals. When both groups know that there is a certain danger in what they are doing, they still go for what they can get. This is shown in The Odyssey through the eating of sacred cattle, and in Huck Finn, through the Duke and King continuing their con over the Wilks daughters, even though they have already gotten plenty more then they would actually need for quite a while. Over all, either of the groups behavior is as though they are the house guests that just will not leave and over stay their welcome.
Another strong relationship between both stories would be how both Huck and Odysseus hold a certain loyalty to the person that they care the most about in ther stories. Odysseus had a wife, named Penenlope, who was in his homeland, which he was trying to reach. Despite many temptations, like when the Princess of the Phaeacians asks him to marry her and become a King, Odysseus keeps on tralveling home in order to see his wife. This is similar to Huck s relationship with Jim, the runaway slave. At one point in the story, Huck is given a chance of living a very good life with a feuding family, the
Grangerford s. They live in what they consider to be a very affluent lifestyle, and offer Huck to stay with them as long as he wanted. He is thrilled by the offer, and enjoys how friendly they are, but after Buck Grangerford s death in a small battle, Huck departs to the raft to seek his friend where Jim is waiting.