Huckleberry Finn 3 Essay Research Paper The

Huckleberry Finn 3 Essay, Research Paper

The entire plot of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is rooted on

intolerance between different social groups. Without prejudice and

intolerance The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would not have any of

the antagonism or intercourse that makes the recital interesting. The

prejudice and intolerance found in the book are the characteristics

that make The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a great American Classic.

The author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is Samuel Langhorn,

who is more commonly known by his pen name, Mark Twain. He was born in

1835 with the passing of Haley’s comet, and died in 1910 with the

passing of Haley’s comet. Twain often used prejudice as a building

block for the plots of his stories. Twain even said, “The very ink in

which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” There are many

other instances in which Twain uses prejudice as a foundation for the

entertainment of his writings. Even in the opening paragraph of The

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Twain states, “Persons attempting to

find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting

to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a

plot in it will be shot.” There were many groups that Twain contrasted

in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The interaction of these

different social groups is what makes up the main plot of the novel.

For the objective of discussion they have been broken down into five

main sets of antithetic parties: people with high levels of melanin and

people with low levels of melanin, rednecks and scholarly, children and

adults, men and women, and finally, the Sheperdson’s and the

Grangerford’s. Whites and African Americans are the main two groups

contrasted in the novel. Throughout the novel Twain portrays

Caucasians as a more educated group that is higher in society compared

to the African Americans portrayed in the novel. The cardinal way that

Twain portrays African Americans as obsequious is through the colloquy

that he assigns them. Their dialogue is composed of nothing but broken

English. One example in the novel is this excerpt from the

conversation between Jim the fugitive slave, and Huckleberry about why

Jim ran away, where Jim declares, “Well you see, it ‘uz dis way. Ole

missus-dat’s Miss Watson-she pecks on me all de time, en treats me

pooty rough, but she awluz said she woudn’ sell me down to Orleans.”

Although this is the phonetic spelling of how some African Americans

from the boondocks used to talk, Twain only applied the argot to Blacks

and not to Whites throughout the novel. There is not one sentence in

the treatise spoken by an African Americ! an that is not comprised of

broken English. In spite of that, the broken English does add an

entraining piece of culture to the milieu. The second way Twain

differentiates people in the novel of different skin color is that all

Blacks in the book are portrayed as stupid and uneducated. The most

blatant example is where the African American character Jim is kept

prisoner for weeks while he is a dupe in a childish game that Tom

Sawyer and Huck Finn play with him. Twain spends the last three

chapters in the novel to tell the tale of how Tom Sawyer maliciously

lets Jim, who known only unto Tom is really a free man, be kept

prisoner in a shack while Tom torments Jim with musings about freedom

and infests his living space with rats, snakes, and spiders. At the end

of this charade Tom even admits, “Why, I wanted the adventure of it^”

The next two groups Twain contrasts are the rednecks and the scholarly.

In the novel Twain uses interaction between backwoods and more highly

educated people as a vital part of the plot. The main usage of this

mixing of two social groups is seen in the development of the two very

entertaining characters simply called the duke and the king. These two

characters are rednecks who pretend to be of a more scholarly

background to cozen naive people along the banks of the Mississippi.

In one instance the king and the duke fail miserably in trying to act

more studiously when they perform a “Shakespearean Revival.” The duke

slaughters the lines of Hamlet saying, “To be, or not to be; that is

the bare bodkin. That it makes calamity of so long life. For who fardel

bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunshire, but that fear of something

after death.” Another contrast made by Twain is that of adults and

children. Twain portrays adults as the conventional group in society,

and children as the unconventional. In the story adults are not

portrayed with much bias, but children are portrayed as more

imaginative. The two main examples of this are when Huckleberry fakes

his death, and when Tom and Huck “help” Jim escape from captivity.

This extra imaginative aspect Twain gives to the children of the story

adds much humor to the plot. Also in the novel Twain contrasts women

and men. Women in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are portrayed as

frail, while men are portrayed as more outgoing. The foremost example

of a frail woman character in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is Tom

Sawyer’s Aunt Sally. One example was when Tom and Huck were collecting

wildlife to live in the shack that Jim is being held prisoner in they

accidentally let loose some snakes in Aunt Sally’s house and Aunt

Sally, “^would just lay that work down, and light out.” The main

reason that Twain portrays women as less outgoing, is that there are

only four minor women characters in the novel, while all major

characters are men. Twain’s final contrast is between two families

engaged in a feud. The names of the two families are the Sheperdson’s

and the Grangerford’s. The ironic thing is that, other than their

names, the two factions are totally similar. They even attend the same

church. This intolerance augments a major part to the plot because it

serves as the basis for one of the escapades Huck and Jim become

involved in on their trip down the Mississippi.

The entire plot of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is rooted on the

theme intolerance between different social groups. Without prejudice

and intolerance The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would not have any

of the antagonism and intercourse that makes the recital interesting.

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