Adventures Of Huck Finn And Pleasantville Essay

, Research Paper

Have you ever heard of the great Mark Twain? Many people have and recognize his

novels by name; especially his most famous book called Huckleberry Finn. The

great thing about Huck is that it was meant to be a simple book, but ended up

deemed a classic. The reason for this is that it contains many great american

themes and motifs. Many American novels, books and movies also contain these

themes and motifs, making it very easy to compare Huckleberry Finn to

Pleasantville. Although very different ?stories?, in comparison Huck and

Pleasantville have the same motifs. Both the movie and the book have the motifs

of going west, rebel vs. the establishment and Jim Crow/Shaman. This essay will

compare these common American motifs. The ?go west? motif is about the

characters running away or escaping from where they previously were (this

doesn?t necessarily have to include a trip west). In Huck Finn the river is

the tool used to help Huck and Jim escape from their life. The river helps to

take Huck and Jim away from civilization and reunite them with nature. The river

also helps to free them from ?slavery?, Huck being a ?slave? to the

Widow Douglas and Jim actually being Miss Watson?s slave. In Pleasantville a

life in colour is how the townspeople are allowed to ?go west?. When they

are in black and white they have the perfect life, meaning that nothing can ever

go wrong, therefore they can never learn from their mistakes. When David

introduces the thought of thinking for themselves to the teenagers of

Pleasantville they begin to notice that there are other places in the world,

this begins to change things from black and white to colour. Both stories

contain the motif of going west. Another motif in these two works is the Rebel

vs. the Establishment motif. In Huck the rebel would be Huck and one of the

establishments would be the ?civilized? people in the book. Huck refuses to

believe that people can be so shallow and religious, and also believes that this

comes from being ?civilized?. The other establishment would the Widow

Douglas/Miss. Watson/Aunt Polly figure in Huck’s life. It seems he is always

rebelling on one of these people who are trying to civilize him. In

Pleasantville David is the rebel and one of the establishments is the adult

population of Pleasantville. David is against the adults because he cannot get

most of them to believe his way of thinking. The other establishment is the

?black and white? thinking of the townspeople. David convinces most of the

teen-agers to think differently than they were taught and this turns the town

into colour. Both of these stories have the rebel vs. the establishment motif.

The last motif in these two works is the Jim Crow/Shaman motif, where one

character acts stupid or strange in ?society? and then becomes very

intuitive in ?nature?. In Huck, Jim is the Crow/Shaman, changing with his

surroundings. When in society Jim acts like the Crow, and it seems natural. When

Jim and Huck go down the river Jim turns into the Shaman, and becomes somewhat

smarter and intuitive. In Pleasantville Jennifer is the Crow/Shaman, and changes

with the setting. When the movie first starts she is the Shaman; at home she

fits in and knows exactly what to do. When she arrives in Pleasantville she

becomes the Crow and acts very strange compared to everyone else. Both stories

contain characters that are both Crow and Shaman. In conclusion both Huck Finn

and Pleasantville contain many similar motifs, three of them being the go west,

rebel vs. establishment and Jim Crow/Shaman motifs. Thus proves that even if the

stories are very different they all contain similar motifs. The reason for this

is that people who write stories don?t realize they are putting motifs into

their work, it comes naturally from being American.


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