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Huck Finn Man's Often Concealed Shortcomings

Huck Finn: Man's Often-concealed Shortcomings

Throughout the Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the author expresses a plain and striking point of view. His point of view is that of a cynic; he looks upon civilized man as a merciless, cowardly, hypocritical savage, without desire for change, nor the 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 are 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 ideas of Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas and the violence and tyranny of his drunken father. Huck did not care for the ideas of going to school, church, wearing proper clothes, and using manners. Huck was more of a rugged type. With his father he was kept in a veritable prison, and wished to escape because he was locked inside all day. 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 mixtures of human character flaws always seem to emerge. 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 misled, 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...

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Category:   Huckleberry Finn

Length:   4 pages (962 words)

Views:   4744

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