The Worth of Huckleberry Finn
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The Worth of Huckleberry Finn
I feel that Huckleberry Finn is a valuable commentary on the habits of humanity during that era. Mark Twain set a high standard for future writers to follow, and at the same time made repeated condescending remarks about the way people, specifically southern adults, think. Another goal of his at the time was probably to show people that they were children too, once, and this was how they thought at that age. Another reason I felt that this book is valuable is that it shows the feelings of not only the people, but also of Mark Twain toward slavery and slaves at the time the book was written.
An example of Mark Twainís feelings toward humanity during the era can be found in the section of the book when Huck finds himself in the middle of a feud between the Grangerfords and the Wilkses. In this passage of the book, Mark Twain puts Huck in a situation where there is no thought or reason. This fact is pointed out when Huck asks what started the feud, and nobody can tell him because they donít know, yet they continue to kill each other. The point which Twain drives toward in this point of the book is that people are basically sheep, a point reiterated later when a large group of people goes to lynch a man, and end up leaving quietly without doing anything. This summarizes the basic view Mark Twain held of the average southern person.
Mark Twain demonstrated the way a child might think when Tom Sawyer started a band of outlaws in which everyone had to sign an oath in blood in the beginning of the book. In Tomís band of thieves we see a stubbornness in Tom whenever anyone tries to disagree with him, and a view of the world that had a rather loose grasp of reality. An example of this fact would be the incident where they ambushed the "A-rabs" (who turned out to be a Sunday school picnic), and the fact that Huck later quit the group because he was disappointed they hadnít actually killed anybody. At another point in the book, we see Tomís over-active imagination and romantic view of the world go into action again with the escape plan for Jim. In this plan, he says that a good escape should take at least a couple of years, but he thinks that it would be alright for them to let on that it had taken thirty-seven years to free Jim. While planning the escape, Tom also thinks that there should be a moat around the cabin, and that if they have enough time during the escape, they should try to dig one.
Another major theme of this book is the issue of slavery. Mark Twain, in my opinion of him, disagrees with slavery, and in this book attempts to present slavery as an institution which isnít as good as it was made out to be in his era. An example of why I believe he disagreed with slavery would be the part of the book where Huck considers turning Jim in for a reward, and then decides not to because Jim has been such a good friend to him. At this point, Twain points out the current feelings on the subject when Huck feels that the right thing to do would be to turn Jim in, and shows his own feelings when Huck would rather go to hell than see Jim punished.
In conclusion, I feel that Mark Twain wrote this book with no intention of greatness in mind, but as a story for those who needed to see the world through the eyes of a child again. The results achieved, however, were beyond the scope of the time period, and deserve to be read for generations to come. Huckleberry Finn is a book that has outlasted many of the original expectations, and has served as an inspiration for many writers. This is why I feel that Huckleberry Finn is a very valuable book.
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