- Term Papers and Free Essays

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Essay by   •  January 2, 2011  •  2,663 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,678 Views

Essay Preview: The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Report this essay
Page 1 of 11


Huck Finn is the main character in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, By Mark Twain. One could say he is the stories hero. A little description of him is a 14 year old boy that

can barely read, and is just as comfortable if not more wearing old cloths like rags and falling asleep in the outdoors, as wearing polite cloths plus living within an educated house

(Twain 424).

"Huckleberry Finn is set in 1840s Missouri, a time and place where the disputes that would lead to the Civil War were coming to a boil. The main dispute facing the nation was, of course, the battle over the legality and morality of slavery" (Twain XIII). This brings up one of the main conflict in the novel which is the conflict of racial tension. Mark Twain used his own experiences in his life to help demonstrate and describe the conflicts in the novel and also the people and places in the novel. One conflict that will be explored in detail is the conflict of social setting. This is about the fact that Huck Finn is not comfortable in a so called civilized life, which consist of schooling, living in a house, and using proper language. The environment that Huck Finn is comfortable in, could be described as free of civilization, which demonstrated in the novel as the times between Huck being either with Widow Douglas and Miss Watson and the various others in the novel that take Huck in, which include Aunt Sally and the Grangerfords. The times between being in the civilized world are more peaceful to Huck. Huck sees during these times how wrong the civilized world is, at least in his eyes, also Jim the slave that is with Huck during some of the free periods of the novel is based from an actual slave that Mark Twain

knew. This brings up the point that Mark Twain used his own experiences to show the conflicts that exists in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. "Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, MO., a village on the Mississippi River. Here the young Twain experienced the excitement of colorful steamboats that docked at the town wharf, bringing comedians, singers, gamblers, swindlers, slave dealers, and assortments of other travelers."(Gribben 528). Slavery is in the novel fairly often, and one of the main conflicts in the novel is racial tension. Mark Twain's parents had some slaves of their own(railton 1), and " Although the Missouri he grew up in never joined the confederacy; it was a world in which slavery was taken for granted by most whites, defended by all public institutions, including the churches, and attacked out loud by no one" (Railton 1). Mark Twains wife was of a family that were abolitionists, (Railton 1), so this might give an insight into Mark Twain, and show that he was not a racist person, and also this might of affected how he wrote The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn.

The characters, environment, and even the time period are all somehow in someway borrowed partly on some real life event, person, or place that Twain experienced. "Huck" Finn was revolutionary far into time, in past because Twain wrote the way various southern people talked, in dialect that both added realism and explored prejudices of blacks words. It revealed some of the prejudices (Moss and Wilson) Twain used his life and the way he heard people talk in his life to bring action and flavor to the novel. And this made it more interesting. Something else in the novel that was modeled after something in Twains life is the town Huck lives. St. Petersburg, it was modeled after Hannibal Missouri (Moss and Wilson 15) Twain said he drew Tom Blankenship precisely like he acted in life, basically ignorant, dirty and underfed, but just as Huck, the character modeled after, Tom, had a good heart (Moss and Wilson 18). Huck Finn was not the only character that was modeled after a person in the life of Mark Twain. Jim, the slave, was also modeled after an actual person. The person Jim is modeled after is a slave called Dariel. Dariel was a slave on a farm that was under the control of his Uncle in Florid, Missouri (Moss and Wilson 19). Based on just these two examples you can see, Twain believed every fictional character had its real life source. Over the years he kept notebooks describing people and places that found their way into Huckleberry Finn (Moss and Wilson 19) Mark Twain used his own experiences to help model the characters and environment, but he also used his experiences to help show the conflicts in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

One of the major conflicts in the novel is the conflict of racial tension. One item in the novel that shows racial tension is the use of the word nigger.

4. nigger : The term nigger is used over two hundred times throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The word has always been derogatory, The word has always been derogatory, but it is considered much more offensive today than it was in the mid nineteenth-century south, where the novel is set. The word nigger is the only term or character like Huck would know for a black person (Twain 409-10).

Mark Twain didn't use the term nigger to be purposely hurtful he was just writing how people talked in the south at the time. Some of today readers don't like Huck's acceptance of what slavery is, the use of the word nigger, and the stereo types in the novel (Gribben 529). Others believe that Huck Finn, like Mark Twain, knew that the slave Jim was a human not just a slave. It doesn't matter which is right, both show that racial tension is present in the novel. Another thing that is in the novel that shows the racial tension in the novel is how the slave owners themselves act. The characters that own slaves in Huckleberry Finn can be described as nice women that have no ill intentions. And the nature that the owners and slaves have together causes both the slaves and the women a lot of sorrow (Twain XVI). Something else that happens in the novel that shows the action of the slave owners is when Miss Watson the owners of the slave Jim talks to someone about selling Jim to people that were further south in New Orleans. Jim overhears her say this so instead of going further south to even worse conditions he decides to run (Twain 423). Jim meets Huck after he runs away. Throughout the novel Huck (as someone whose been raised as a in a slave holding society) believes slavery is right: though he likes Jim, and is willing to "go to hell" to steal Jim out of slavery. He expresses more sympathy for Miss Watson as the "poor old woman" who owns Jim than for Jim himself (Kaelton 3).

Huck does become a close friend of Jim, but he struggles a lot with the feelings of weather to let and help to keep Jim



Download as:   txt (13.9 Kb)   pdf (151.9 Kb)   docx (13.7 Kb)  
Continue for 10 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 01). The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. Retrieved 01, 2011, from

"The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn" 01 2011. 2011. 01 2011 <>.

"The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn.", 01 2011. Web. 01 2011. <>.

"The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn." 01, 2011. Accessed 01, 2011.