Huckelberry Finn Essay, Research Paper
Twain’s Huck Finn compared to the movie
By Cindy Le
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a classic novel about a young boy who struggles to save and free himself from captivity, responsibility, and social injustice. Along his river to freedom, he aids and befriends a runaway slave named Jim. The two travel down the Mississippi, hoping to reach Cairo successfully. However, along the way they run into many obstacles that interrupt their journey. By solving these difficult tasks, they learn life lessons important to survival. The reader will find Huck and Jim more knowledgeable at the conclusion of the novel, and notice their love for life and for each other.
After reading the novel and watching the Disney film Huck Finn, you will find many difference. Many of the classic scenes have been switched around and combined in the 1993 version.
The major difference between the movie and the book is an important character named Tom Sawyer, who is not present or mentioned in the film. It is true from reading the story that Tom was a really big influence on Huck, who obviously wants to be everything like him. Tom can be seen as Huck’s leader and role model. He has a good family life, but yet has the free will to run off and have fun. Tom is intelligent, creative, and imaginative, which is everything Huck wishes for himself. Because of Tom’s absence in the movie, Huck has no one to idolize and therefore is more independent.
Twain’s major theme in the novel is the stupidity and faults of the society in which Huck lives. There is cruelty, greed, murder, trickery, hypocrisy, racism, and a general lack of morality. All of these human failings are seen through the characters and the adventures they experience. The scenes involving the King and Duke show examples of these traits. The two con-artists go through many towns playing the same tricks and scams on the gullible townspeople hoping to make money. They put on acts in the novel such as the “Nonesuch” that get them almost killed as they run out of each town. These scenes, which prove as examples of the foolish society are not in the film.
The useless of the Wilks sisters is disturbing to Huck who attempts to help them stop the frauds from stealing their inheritance. The movie is dissimilar to the book in that it concludes with Mary Jane and her two sisters as the heroes who save Jim from being hanged and Huck from dying of a gun wound. The girls see through to the general goodness that lies inside Huck. The Wilks are never discussed again in the novel once Huck, Jim, the Duke, and the King escape from their town.
The last scene of the novel involving the freeing of Jim takes place at the Phelps plantation. In the novel, Tom, like always, must invent an extravagant and absurd plan based on the heroes he has read about in books. Huck rather free Jim the easy way and get it over with using a simple and practical plan. Since this scene in the film is combined with an earlier one of Huck escaping from the Wilks, Huck frees Jim from a jail cell by himself easily and in a few minutes rather than in three weeks.
Both the novel and the film portray Huck to be generally kind and loving to everyone, but the novel shows Huck’s appreciation and love for Jim more vividly since Huck sees the suffering Jim endures while being locked up in the hut. He becomes more aware of the pain that Jim and the rest of the “negroes” have gone through due to the acceptance of slavery. He finally begins to understand that society has been wrong to discriminate against a whole race, and strip them of their human rights.
Huck and Jim become “best friends” in the film, but are shown to separate once Jim is released by Miss Watson, and Huck learns of his father’s death. The book shows that the two belong together since they have connected with a special bond that only the best of friends share. Huck comes to realize that Jim is a human being and deserves the respect and dignity that every white man is freely given. Even though Tom appeared to bravely help free Jim, we discover that he only altered the escape into an adventure for his own pleasure, and knew all along that Jim was already a free man. Because of his selfishness and lack of compassion, Tom is no better than the rest of society. From this information we can conclude that Tom is not a good role model for Huck, but instead Huck is a great example for Tom.
In conclusion, the novel and the film are based upon the same story exploring the same themes. The novel only builds upon each theme with more examples that the film ignores. Like any movie based upon a book, it has fewer details which in this case are crucial for a complete analysis of the characters, theme, plot, and purpose of recounting the adventures of Huckleberry Finn.