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Huckleberry Finn Essay Research Paper Huckleberry FinnIn

Huckleberry Finn Essay, Research Paper

Huckleberry Finn

In his latest story, Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade), by Mark Twain, Mr. Clemens has

made a very

distinct literary advance over Tom Sawyer, as an interpreter of human nature and a contributor to our stock


original pictures of American life. Still adhering to his plan of narrating the adventures of boys, with a


and Robin Hood freshness, he has broadened his canvas and given us a picture of a people, of a

geographical region, of a life that is new in the world. The scene of his romance is the Mississippi river.


Clemens has written of this river before specifically, but he has not before presented it to the imagination so

distinctly nor so powerfully. Huck Finn’s voyage down the Mississippi with the run away nigger Jim, and


occasionally other companions, is an adventure fascinating in itself as any of the classic outlaw stories, but


order that the reader may know what the author has done for him, let him notice the impression left on his


of this lawless, mysterious, wonderful Mississippi, when he has closed the book. But it is not alone the

river that

is indelibly impressed upon the mind, the life that went up and down it and went on along its banks are

projected with extraordinary power. Incidentally, and with a true artistic instinct, the villages, the cabins,


people of this river become startlingly real. The beauty of this is that it is apparently done without effort.


floating down the river happens to see these things and to encounter the people and the characters that


the river famous forty years ago–that is all. They do not have the air of being invented, but of being found.


the dialects of the people, white and black–what a study are they; and yet nobody talks for the sake of

exhibiting a dialect. It is not necessary to believe the surprising adventures that Huck engages in, but no


will have a moment’s doubt of the reality of the country and the people he meets.

Another thing to be marked in the story is its dramatic power. Take the story of the Southern Vendetta–a

marvelous piece of work in a purely literary point of view–and the episode of the duke and the king, with


pictures of Mississippi communities, both of which our readers probably saw in the Century magazine.


are equaled in dramatic force by nothing recently in literature.

We are not in this notice telling the story or quoting from a book that nearly everybody is sure to read, but

it is

proper to say that Mr. Clemens strikes in a very amusing way certain psychological problems. What, for

instance, in the case of Huck, the son of the town drunkard, perverted from the time of his birth, is


and how does it work? Most amusing is the struggle Huck has with his conscience in regard to slavery. His

conscience tells him, the way it has been instructed, that to help the runaway, nigger Jim to escape–to aid


stealing the property of Miss Watson, who has never injured him, is an enormous offense that will no doubt

carry him to the bad place; but his affection for Jim finally induces him to violate his conscience and risk


punishment in helping Jim to escape. The whole study of Huck’s moral nature is as serious as it is amusing,


confusion of wrong as right and his abnormal mendacity, traceable to his training from infancy, is a


contribution to the investigation of human nature.

These contradictions, however, do not interfere with the fun of the story, which has all the comicality, all

the odd

way of looking at life, all the whimsical turns of thought and expression that have given the author his wide


and made him sui generis. The story is so interesting so full of life and dramatic force, that the reader will


carried along irresistibly, and the time he loses in laughing he will make up in diligence to hurry along and


out how things come out.