Throughout the Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) novel, The

Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn, a plain and striking point of view

is expressed by the author. His point of view is that of a cynic;

he looks upon civilized man as a merciless, cowardly, hypocritical

savage, without want of change, nor ability to effect such change.

Thus, one of Mark Twain's main purposes in producing this work

seems clear: he wishes to bring to attention some of man's often

concealed shortcomings.

While the examples of Mark Twain's cynic commentaries on human

nature can be found in great frequency all through the novel,

several examples seem to lend themselves well to a discussion of

this sarcastic view. In the beginning of the novel, it would seem

that both Huck Finn and Jim are trapped in some way and wishing to

escape. For Huck, it is the violence and tyranny of his drunken

father. Kept in a veritable prison, Huck wishes desperately to

escape. Jim feels the need to escape after hearing that his owner,

Miss Watson, wishes to sell him down the river-a change in owners

that could only be for the worse. As they escape separately and

rejoin by chance at an island along the river, they find themselves

drawn to get as far as possible from their home. Their journey down

the river sets the stage for most of Mark Twain's comments about

man and society. It is when they stop off at various towns along

the river that various human character flaws always seem to come out.

Examples of this would include the happenings after the bringing

on of the Duke and King. These two con artists would execute the

most preposterous of schemes to relieve unsuspecting townspeople of

their cash. The game of the King pretending to be a reformed

marauder-turned-missionary at the tent meeting showed that people

are gullible and often easily led, particularly when in groups and

subjected to peer pressure. The execution of the Royal Nonesuch

showed another instance of people in society being subject to

manipulation. The fact that, after being taken by a poor show they

sent rave reviews of it to their friends to avoid admitting they

had been conned showed that people in groups are ever afraid of

losing status, and will do nearly anything to protect such. Both

the King and the Duke, also, showed such a ridiculous degree of

corruptness that it is difficult to believe that all humans aren't

at least somewhat evil.

Another point made by the author is that of most men being

basically cowards. A good example of this was when Col. Sherburn

shot the drunk Boggs and the townsfolk came after Sherburn to lynch

him. After Sherburn, one man with only a shotgun, held off the

immense mob and made them disperse, it was obvious that no

individual really had the courage to go through with the lynching.

The idea that people are basically savages, confined for the

moment by society, is shown in more than one instance, such as when

the group was preparing to hang Huck and the King over their plot

to defraud the daughters, or, more obvious, in the war between the

Shephardsons and the Grangerfords.

The aspect of people being basically hypocrites is seen at the

beginning when Miss Watson displays a degree of hypocriticality on

insisting that Huck follow the Widow and become civilized, while at

the same time deciding to sell Jim into a hard life down the


A final point seems to be that Man is continually fleeing from

something. At the end, Jim and Huck found themselves at the end of

their journey, neither having anything left to run from as Huck's

father was dead and Jim was a free man. It would seem, then that

Huck and Jim had run a thousand miles down the river and ended up

where they had started from.

From the above examples, one can see some of the author's point

in producing 'Huck Finn.' It is apparent that Mark Twain wishes

society to realize its shortcomings and the limitations imposed by

human nature. He realizes that people will not change, but feels

that they should be aware of who they are, of what comes with this

thing we call humanity. That is Mark twain's main purpose in

writing this novel.