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Huckleberry Finn

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain created a character who exemplifies freedom within, and from, American society. Huck lives on the margins of society because, as the son of the town drunk, he is pretty much an orphan. He sleeps where he pleases, provided that nobody chases him off, and he eats when he pleases, provided that he can find a morsel. No one requires him to attend school or church, bathe, or dress respectably. It is understandable, if not expected, that Huck smokes and swears. Years of having to fend for himself have invested Huck with a solid common sense and a practical competence that complement Tom’s dreamy idealism and fantastical approach to reality (Tom creates worlds for himself that are based on those in stories he has read). But Huck does have two traits in common with Tom: a zest for adventure and a belief in superstition.

Through Huck, Twain weighs the costs and benefits of living in a society against those of living independently of society. For most of the novel, adult society disapproves of Huck, but because Twain renders Huck such a likable boy, the adults’ disapproval of Huck generally alienates us from them and not from Huck himself. After Huck saves the Widow Douglas and gets rich, the scale tips in the direction of living in society. But Huck, unlike Tom, isn’t convinced that the exchange of freedom for stability is worth it. He has little use for the money he has found and is quite devoted to his rough, independent lifestyle. When the novel ends, Huck, like Tom, is still a work in progress, and we aren’t sure whether the Widow Douglas’s attempts to civilize him will succeed (Twain reserves the conclusion of Huck’s story for his later novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).

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Tom Sawyer

by muymuymuymuy, December 06, 2012

The key to reading this book is to concentrate on the anwsers and actually analyze what they are saying.

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46 out of 104 people found this helpful

Just a bit of advice....

by fieldhockeylover101, March 25, 2013

If u have a big exam on this novel coming up.......instead of reading all the chapter analysis's,read the overall anylsis, quotes and come up with the most important charcters and write out WHO they really are. Just a helpful idea.......!

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25 out of 33 people found this helpful

Important.. Read!

by _hi123, April 09, 2013

After chapter 17, all the chapters are one chapter behind. So chapter 19 is under chapter 18 and so on. I am not positive if this goes on through the rest of the chapters but I know that after chapter 17, this does happen. Hope this helps!

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57 out of 72 people found this helpful

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