Huckleberry Finn Essay, Research Paper
The Romantic Elements of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Samuel Clemens was a talented author who used several literary elements throughout his works. Clemens novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was written as a critique of southern romanticism. Clemens despised romantic literature. He felt as though it instilled false hopes in its readers. Therefore, it seems rather ironic that Clemens would include elements of romantic literature within a work that criticized this form of literature. Through out this popular novel, elements of romantic literature surface. It is unknown whether this were included to poke fun at romantic literature, or simply a mistake made by Clemens. Whatever the reason, the elements do appear within this novel.
The most prominent element of romantic literature in this novel is Tom Sawyer. The author included this character to show just how ridiculous romantic literature could be. Clemens uses Tom s character to show the false hopes that romantic literature can instill in its readers. Tom, Huck s closest friend, is a well read somewhat educated young boy. Therefore, Huck looks up to Tom and follows his lead. Tom talks Huck into doing many ridiculous things to create an adventure. At the end of the novel, after Tom and Huck have played many cruel jokes on Tom s family and Jim, Tom is asked why he did all these ridiculous things. Tom answers Well, that is a question, I must say; and just like women! Why, I wanted the adventure of it; (214). Because Tom had read so many of these romantic novels he believed that everything in life should be an adventure. If he felt like something would not be an adventure, he
would simply make the situation into an adventure. Tom has been really mislead by these books he lives his life by. He believes these novels are an accurate account of what real life is.
Tom s character is ignorant to the fact that these novels are nothing more than made up stories written for the pure enjoyment of the reader. Many of Tom s actions are done because the book says so (33). There is no question that Clemens used Tom s character to show his beliefs about romantic literate. Through Tom s character, Clemens tries to reveal that these books are not an accurate account of life, rather made up fairy tales written to please the reader. Clemens uses Tom s character as a satire on romantic literature.
It is however ironic, that Clemens would allow a romantic element into the very plot of his work. Whether this was done intentionally or not is unknown. It seems strange that an author, who hated an element, as much as Clemens despised romantic literature, would include it within the plot of their work. After reading the novel through, one might be swayed to believe this was an accident. Perhaps Clemens became tired and was looking for a quick ending to the story. Whatever the reason may be, at the closing of the novel Clemens uses an element of romantic literature.
The instance being discussed is Huck s arrival at Aunt Sally s farm. Clemens had to realize it was a bit far fetched for Huck to be so lucky. He knew everything to tell Aunt Sally, because after all, she was his best friend s aunt. Clemens had to have known that this was not a realistic ending. Clemens even notes that Huck was easy and comfortable (175). It is not made clear in the novel why Clemens included this element of roamantic literature within his plot. This is why the reader could be swayed to believe that Clemens had become tired and was looking for a quick way to end his work. It is ironic though that he would leave this element in is work after reading the work over. Through out the novel Huck faces many hardships. Samuel Clemens does not make any of these hardships unrealistic. The rest of his novel is a realistic account of what might have happened on the Mississippi River a hundred years ago and an excellent example of realism. Why then does he make this flaw at the closing of his novel, knowing that it was far fetched? Perhaps Clemens left this element in his work to make scholars wonder.
Ordinary enjoyment readers would think nothing of this mistake in the plot , but the scholars now have something to ponder. It could have been an intentional flaw by Clemens to cause scholars to take a closer look at his work. It definitely causes the scholar to take a closer more in depth look at the work. This could have been done again just to draw the reader s attention to romantic literature. Whatever Clemens reasoning was, it has caused many to take a second look at his work and try to figure it out what his intention were.
Clemens used the first element of romantic literature in an entertaining manner, and perhaps he used the second element in a scholarly manner. One truly has to sit back and study the work to determine why Clemens might have done this, and are still unsure. Perhaps it was just a simple flaw with no hidden meaning. the only way we will ever know is to ask Clemens himself. It does cause for an interesting topic to discuss either way. Clemens was a talented author that used his works to teach and to entertain. He often included elements to criticize them. This is why he wrote Tom s character the way
He did in this novel. A strong advocate against romantic fiction, he criticized its flaws through Tom s character. However it is still undetermined why he wrote an element of this hated form of writing into his plot. Perhaps it was a mistake made by a tired author, or a niche thrown into the plot to make us all wonder. We will never know the real reason, but regardless it provides both entertainment and a chance for us all to ponder his work.
Clemens did an excellent job of incorporating many literary elements into his work, which was written as a critique on southern romanticism. Although he despised romantic literature, he did an excellent job of incorporation it into his masterpiece. It gives all readers the chance to examine the literature and form an opinion of their own, which was Clemens goal.