Huck Finn Novel Analysis Essay, Research Paper
The story of Huck Finn begins in his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. Then the setting changes to Jackson Island because Huck decides to run away and live there. After that the setting changes to the Mississippi River and various towns alongside, when Jim and Huck decide they are heading to a state where Jim will be free.
The setting immediately reflects the tone of the book because the book is written in a southern dialect and the story is set in the south.
The setting is crucial to the actions in the book. If Huck lived in a state where slaves were free, then there would have been no need for Huck and Jim to travel the Mississippi looking for a state where Jim would be a free man. If they had not traveled up the Mississippi then there would not have been any adventures of Huck Finn.
The protagonist in this story is Jim, a runaway slave. He always looks out for those around him, especially Huck. The three other major characters in the story are Huck Finn, the king, and the duke. Huck Finn is the main character in the story and Jim’s best friend. The king and the duke are thieves who force Huck and Jim to let them on their boat.
Jim and Huck are dynamic characters. Their personalities and feelings on issues change throughout the story. The king and the duke are static characters. They are greedy thieves only out for themselves and they remain this way throughout the entire story.
Two minor characters in this story are Mary Jane and the Widow Douglas. The widow Douglas is a dynamic character. At the beginning of the story one gets the impression she only wants Huck’s money, but by the end of the story she actually cares about him and hopes that he is all right. Mary Jane is a static character she is sweet and kind and stays that way through the entire story.
Jim: “What is popular isn’t always right.”
Huck Finn: “All right, then, I’ll go to hell.”
The king: “I am the king of France and just about anything else that suits my fancy.”
The duke: “Lets swindle the first good town we come to.”
Mary Jane: “If it’s reason enough for Huck, then it’s reason enough for me.”
Widow Douglas: “Huck, you poor lost lamb.”
IV. Form Structure and Plot
The plot of this story is simple, but the symbolism in it is complex. One really has to read into the metaphors to understand the symbolism in the story.
V. Narrative Perspective
This story is written in first person, past tense. It is narrated by an objective narrator. It is autobiographical because it is a story told by the narrator about himself.
Twain used Huck Finn to talk about the “damned human race” and to condemn the stereotypes of right and wrong in which the rulers of society justified their own selfish interests. In this novel the representative stereotype is slavery. Huck was constantly battling with his conscious because morals of church and society said he should report a run away slave. Another way to look at it is that Jim might represent slavery and Huck represents white America’s struggle with the morals of slavery.
The work is allegorical. The River is the central symbol to which other symbolic elements are referred. In this story the River accorded with Huck’s loneliness; and whether it ravened the land or was at peace, it was clean and trustworthy reality for Jim, a fugitive from slavery, and Huck, fleeing from all the brutality of “civilization” epitomized in his father.
The book begins with Huck Finn living with the Widow Douglas and Mrs. Watson, that is until his father comes back into town and takes Huck into the woods to live with him. Huck does not like living with his pa very much so one day when his pa is gone Huck makes it look as if someone killed him and then runs away to Jackson Island. While on Jackson Island he runs into Jim, a slave who ran away from the widow and Mrs. Watson. They decide to sail down the Mississippi until they get to a state where Jim will be free. On the way to a free state Huck and Jim had many adventures. Huck met the Grangerford family, who was involved in a feud with the Shepherdsons, and he stayed with them until one day all of them got shot and killed by Shepherdsons. On their journey Huck and Jim also met two men who called themselves the king and the duke. They were greedy thieves who forced their way on board Huck’s raft. Shortly thereafter they arrive in a little Tennessee town where the duke and the king expect to rob the Wilks girls of their inheritance by playing the parts of the girls uncles, a parson and a deaf mute. Huck comes to feel badly for the girls and tells them that the king and the duke aren’t their actual uncles. Before Mary Jane can do anything, the girls’ real uncles show up and the town decides they are both frauds. They decide to tar and feather them. While all the commotion is going on Jim and Huck try to slip away, but they are noticed. While trying to escape Huck is shot so Jim takes him back to the towns people to try and get Huck a doctor. The towns’ people are angry and decide to hang Jim. Just before they get the chance Mary Jane shows up with a gun and demands that they release the slave and get Huck to a doctor. Well in the end Huck gets well and Jim becomes a free man because on their journeys Mrs. Watson died and in her will she gave Jim his freedom.
The plot is written in chronological order.