Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Resonnerende essay; om forandringene Huck Finn går gjennom.

The book about Huckleberry Finn was first published in 1885, although the story takes place in the 1840’s. At the time it was a controversial novel, as it clearly showed a liberal view of the race problem in the South. Throughout Mark Twains novel the author introduces a young boy, who experiences a remarkable change in his basic views on society. By him being separated from civilization, Twain chooses to let him become more human in the readers eyes. After each episode in the book a change in Huckleberry Finn’s personality is shown, and even as small as it might seem, it all adds up towards the end. After spending some time out in nature only accompanied by a slave, Huckleberry Finn grows attached to Jim, and finally look upon him as a friend. In a few months the little boys heart and mentality has gone far, from patronizing and looking down on Jim to actually see him as an equal person.


In the beginning of the book Huckleberry Finn plays tricks of Jim. One of them occurred right after they met; and could have been fatal. Luckily for Huckleberry Finn Jim pulled through and managed to convalesce. The boy found a rattlesnake and put him in an everlasting dream, only to hide the snake in Jim’s bed. The reason for this was to get some entertainment for himself on the slave’s behalf. This episode indicates how Huckleberry’s mentality was in the beginning; Jim was merely an object of his amusement, nothing but a piece of property without it’s rightful owner at the moment. The quote "… for I warn’t going to let Jim find out it was all my fault, not if I could help it", shows where his concern is. It’s not the fact that Jim almost died from the mate’s bite, but the question if he would get caught or not.


A couple of chapters after Jim opens up to Huckleberry Finn by telling him about one of his children. It turns out that Jim hit his daughter, meaning to discipline his child. When he understood that she wasn’t being disobedient, but that her lack of actions were simply due to a handicap, Jim felt remorse. To most people this would only make them feel even more sympatic towards Jim, although he did make a mistake. It’s the fact that he admitted the mistake and in addition felt truly bad for it, that makes him a good person. In this episode it’s more important to read in between the lines, than actually read the words. So far Huckleberry Finn has put in comments on almost everything and anything, but this time the chapter ends with Jim’s sentence. If Huckleberry Finn is thinking about his own father who hit him, and wondering if he ever regretted it, stands as an unanswered question. Mark Twain does for sure make the boy keep quiet for a purpose; he’s meaning to show the reader how the changes in Huckleberry’s mind is affecting his attitude towards Jim.


One of the most important scenes, perhaps even the most significant one, is where Huckleberry Finn must decide if he should help Jim or let him continue as a slave. Jim is now at Mr. Phelps farm, and if the boy helps Jim to gain his freedom he’ll betray Miss Watson, who’ll lose money she would have gotten for her "nigger". This is also a greater issue; whether or not Huckleberry should help his friend or stay loyal to his race. The peak of the episode is where he actually decided to sacrifice his soul in order to save Jim. Of course this sacrifice only occurs in Huckleberry Finn’s head, but it’s real enough for him, and it’s the fact that he would in deed take the step that counts. "All right, then, I’ll go to Hell" is a short sentence, but carries a lot of weight.


After reading this novel, it’s important to remember that Huckleberry Finn’s opinions on slaves was formed by the society he lived in. In the boy’s mind every aspect of doing right seemed to him to be the wrong thing to do. Huckleberry Finn was an outsider in the society, which might have had a helping hand in the outcome. If he had spent more time being involved in civilization he could have turned out to be a bigger racist. After 43 chapters and 283 pages Mark Twain had changed his character in ways that seemed unreasonable in the beginning of the novel. Huckleberry Finn went from being a racist to being a friend to Jim. This might be best showed in the statement from Huckleberry Finn regarding Jim " …I thought he had a good heart in him and was a good man the first time I see him".

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