Huck Finn rough draft 2doc - Courtney Swaim

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Courtney Swaim

Mr. Newcome

AP Literature

April 14, 2010

                                           Huck Finn

       “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the only one of Mark Twain’s various books

which can be called a masterpiece (Eliot).” Mark Twain’s use of characterization is one the

elements that makes this novel a work of genius. He does a remarkable job of explaining a

character’s background and personality to the readers so that they are able to understand a

character’s motives. Mark Twain created Huck Finn, the main character, to be the son of the

town drunkard. He has not had a great amount of parental influence in his life. Huck Finn is an

immature teen age boy that needs the guidance of others to help him through his journey. Mark

Twain uses other characters in the book to give Huck the knowledge and guidance he needs to

make the transition from boy hood to man hood. Mark Twain did an excellent job of sketching

the characters surrounding Huck Finn, such as Jim, Tom and Huck’s pap, so that they could relay

their wisdom to him. However, the influence of the other characters on Huck Finn is not good in

all cases but Mark Twain incorporated their lessons for a reason. The characters surrounding

Huck Finn in the novel teach him valuable lessons about life; these lessons shape his personality

and guide him through his long and exciting journey.

       The first characters that have a major influence on Huck Finn are Widow Douglas and

Miss Watson. At the beginning of the novel, Widow Douglas adopted Huck Finn because of the

absence of his father. The life Huck lived with the widow was quite different from the life he

lived with his father. When Huck lived in the wilderness, he had dirty and raggedy clothes but in
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his new life, Widow Douglas supplies him with fresh clothes. Huck thinks this is odd and he

does not like his new civilized life. At first Huck did not completely like living in such a way

but eventually he settled in. Widow Douglas was able to convince and show Huck that living in

a civilized manner could be a good thing. Huck did not have much of a choice but to live that

way the widow wanted him to because she was his temporary guardian and he was grateful that

she was protecting him from his pap. Huck learned to enjoy his new life, which the widow

influenced completely. Widow Douglas had more of an influence on Huck than changing his

lifestyle for a few shirt months. The widow once told Huck to always help others before himself.

Huck did not think much of this piece of advice at first but when he was deciding whether to

steal Jim, the widow suddenly popped into his mind. Huck took the widow’s advice to heart and

her advice helped him make some very important decisions during his journey down the river.

       Another character that had a major influence on Huck Finn while he was living his

civilized life with Widow Douglas was Miss Watson. Miss Watson is the widow’s sister and

attempts to teach Huck how to read, write, do math and believe. Huck had no problem learning

the first three things in the list but he had trouble understanding the concept of religion. Huck

did not understand why they prayed, nor did he want to. Miss Watson increased Huck’s

knowledge base greatly. Huck may not have used the facts he learned from Miss Watson but the

ability to read and write definitely helped him out later in the book. Also, his being able to read

and write made him a wiser and more logical boy. When compared to Tow Sawyer, Huck may

seem ignorant but he is really a smart boy. He owes this to Miss Watson. Huck also used the

little that he learned from Miss Watson about religion in his journey when he was debating

whether to save Jim from slavery. Miss Watson did not have a direct impact on Huck but she

definitely influenced him in an important way.
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       The next character that we see in the book that has some sort of influence on Huck Finn

is his pap. Huck does not admire his pap at all and is even afraid of him. Pap beats Huck and

did not treat him well as a kid. Not to mention Pap is the town drunkard and has no control when

he is intoxicated. He beats Huck without knowing what he is doing. Even though Pap was not

the greatest father to Huck, he influenced him greatly. Some ways were good but most ways

were bad. Pap obviously set a bad example by spending all his money on whiskey and not doing

anything with his life but causing trouble. Huck may have grown up around this nonsense but he

did not aspire to be anything like his father. When Pap found Huck towards the beginning of the

novel he to him that he did not want him to attend school any longer. He claimed that no one

else in the family learned how to read and write so Huck should not have the privilege to be

better than his ancestors. This is clearly a bad influence because Pap took Huck out of school

and forced him to remain ignorant. The one thing that Pap told Huck that was a good lesson was

the only way to please someone else is to let them have their own way. This lesson helped Huck

a great deal when the Duke and the King came into the plot. Huck knew very well that they

were frauds but he decided that he did not want to stir up any trouble with them. We do not know

whether this was the greatest decision at the time but the decision was made with the help and

guidance from Pap. Huck’s father was not the greatest father in the world but was a good

example of what not to do, how to please someone and how to survive in the wilderness.

       Jim is the next character that affects Huck greatly. Jim has the greatest influence on

Huck. This could be because they spend so much time together and talk a lot but Jim still has a

way of making Huck see his point of view to teach him valuable lessons. The way that Jim

influences Huck is with his superstitions. The first superstition is when Huck and Tom played

the trick on Jim and he claimed that witches were out to get him. Jim told the story to many
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people, not including Huck. Even though Huck was not told the story he began to learn how

superstitious Jim was. Then he asked Jim to talk to the hairball for him. The hairball supposedly

could tell the future and it would talk to Jim. It did not matter whether Huck believed in it or not

Jim did. When Huck saw how much Jim cared about his superstitions he learned to respect

them. Jim also had crazy signs of good and bad luck that Huck soon learned to respect. When

Huck was joking around and out the snakeskin in Jim’s bed, he soon realized that Jim was not

lying about the extreme bad luck of snakeskins. A rattlesnake bit Jim and he was ill for many

days. After that scary incident, Huck never doubted one of Jim superstitions ever again.

       Jim was an influential character in Huck’s life more than just telling him his

superstitions. Jim was a wise slave. He was very smart but stubborn at the same time. When

Huck and Jim were talking about King Solomon Jim knew exactly what he was talking about.

Huck was never able to change his opinion on Solomon. Jim was also very stubborn when Huck

was trying to explain to him why French and Americans spoke different languages. Jim was a

very smart slave and had a lot of common sense. This was passed down to Huck on their long

journey together.

       The last way that Jim influenced Huck Finn was through their relationship. Jim told

Huck that he was the best friends he could ever have and this made Huck think long and hard

about his actions. Whenever Huck played a prank on Jim he immediately felt bad because he

realized how much his friend was hurt by them. Jim’s influence on Huck also became evident

towards the end of the story when he and Huck become separated for the first time since the fog.

Jim was snatched when Huck was off in a town with the Duke and the King. Huck had to make

a very important decision about how to handle the situation. Huck had to choose whether to

break the law and steal back out of slavery and go to hell or would he do the right thing and just
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move on. Huck deeply considered his possibilities and decided he would rather go to hell than

betray his best friend. If Jim and Huck were not so close Huck could have easily left Jim behind.

Jim obviously had some sort of impact on Huck since he was willing to go to hell for him. Even

though Huck thought about what other people told and taught him when he was deciding the

thing that really convinced him was that he and Jim were best friends and just like Jim helped

him escape he was going to help Jim find his wife and children.

       The next characters that have an influence on Huck Finn are the so-called Duke and

King. For the most part they influence Huck in a bad way. He lies to Jim a lot to cover for the

Duke and King and he also steals innocent people’s money. The Duke and King are frauds and

this is how they make a living. When the first come into the story they are running away and the

find Huck and Jim and convince them to let them tag along. The Duke and King turn out to be

more trouble than they are worth. They drag Huck and Jim to all these towns to make money.

The Duke and King influence Huck in a very bad way with all of the frauds. Huck comes along

with them to help them out but he ends up participating in their schemes just as much as they do.

They teach him to lie scam and take the money of innocent people. The scandals that Huck gets

involved in with the Duke and King teach him extremely bad lessons and nearly get him caught

in many cases. Even though Huck has been under the bad influence of the Duke and King for a

number of months he has not forgotten the morals taught to him by Widow Douglas, Miss

Watson and Jim. He eventually realizes that the Duke and King are horrible people and plots to

steal the money from them and help everybody realize the horrible people that they are. Huck

does not seem to get away with running away from them at first but he out smarts them once

again and sets him self free of the frauds and scandals of the Duke and King for good. He used

the lessons he learned from the good people in his life to help him get out of a bad situation.
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       At one point in the story Huck becomes separated from Jim. Huck finds a family by the

name of Grangerford and they let believe his story and let him stay with them for a few days.

Huck learns a few things from this experience. He learns what a feud is and deadly they can be.

The Grangerford family has a long time feud with the Sherpardson family. The Grangerford bo

Buck is always looking for a kill. Huck does not completely understand how the feud came

about or why it is so important to each but he is still curious. One day he woke up to an empty

house and went looking for everybody. He found Buck and another boy with guns pointed

toward a Shepardson. The Shepardson got away and killed Buck and the other boy. This

moment had a profound impact on Huck because he learned how precious life was. Huck may

have only stayed with the Grangerfords for a few days until he had help finding Jim but he

learned a lesson that nobody could teach him but the he had to learn for himself.

       Another character that had a major influence on Huck Finn was his other best friends

Tom Sawyer. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn found lots of money together and have been on many

exciting adventures together in the prequel to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The

Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Even though Tom Sawyer is Huck’s best friend, he does not always

treat him like one. For example when the boys were making the bank robbers club Tom almost

did not let Huck join because he does not have parents. That is not Huck’s fault but Tom would

not make an exception for his best friend. The part in the novel where Tom has the most

influence on Huck is at the end when they are trying to break Jim out of slavery. Tom lied to

Huck because he already knew that Jim was free. In this situation Tom is forcing Huck to go

back to his old self, the Huck that was immature and lied. Huck wanted to take the simple way

to break Jim out but Tom wanted to come up with an elaborate plan that would take many

months. Huck and Tom both knew that Huck’s plan is easier but they still revert back to their
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childish ways of the books they read. Despite everything that Huck had learned form other

people in his life he was still willing to follow Tom’s every command. That is was makes Tom

such a bad influence on Huck. Huck is jealous of Tom’s seemingly perfect life that he is willing

to be his shadow and follow his every command. Because Huck becomes Tom’s shadow his

becomes immature all over again as if he had forgotten everything he learned during his journey.

       The last person that has an influence on Huck is of course himself. The other people in

the story may be able to teach him as much as they wanted be Huck was the only on who could

do something. Huck took everything that every taught him to heart. He gave the Duke and King

what the wanted to satisfy them and keep them happy. Huck thought of Jim before himself when

deciding to save him from slavery or not. He even thought about religion and heaven or hell

before saving Jim. Huck also made the decision to help the sad family who had just lost a

beloved member escape the fraud of the King and the Duke. He made this decision entirely on

his own without the influence of Jim or anyone else. He used his feelings for the situation and

his own cleverness to help the girls in the family out. Huck used all of the knowledge that he

previously acquired to help him in his journey through the woods. Huck already had a good

amount of knowledge but he still was immature at the beginning of the novel.

       The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is about Huck Finn’s transition from boy hood to

man hood. He starts out as a teen-age boy with out the guidance of his biological parents. He is

confused because he is adjusting to a new way of life. Mark Twain did a remarkable job with the

characterization in the novel. He created every character in a way so that when they met Huck

he would be forced to learn something knew or change his opinion on something. Each

character that encountered Huck taught him a new lesson that helped him through out his long

journey to a new beginning. However, Huck had to make all of these decisions on his own. It
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was completely up to him to make the transition from boy hood to man hood. Huck could have

gone back to his old ways, like he did at the end, at any time but instead he did the wiser thing in

most situations. Every character taught him a lesson and also twisted the plot in their own way.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a unique story because of the way each character has

such a big role in the novel.
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                                        Works Cited

Browne, Ray B. "Huck's Final Triumph." EXPLORING Novels. Online ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003.

      Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. BRUNSWICK SR HIGH SCHOOL - MD. 13

      Apr. 2010 < &contentSet=GSRC

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      &srcprod=SRCG &userGroupName=fcpsbhs &version=1.0>.

Brownell, Frances V. "The Role of Jim in Huckleberry Finn." EXPLORING Novels. Online ed.

      Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. BRUNSWICK SR HIGH

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Cummings, Sherwood. "What's in Huckleberry Finn?." EXPLORING Novels. Online ed. Detroit:

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Hansen, Chadwick. "The Character of Jim and the Ending of `Huckleberry Finn." DISCovering

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James, Pearl. "Overview of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." EXPLORING Novels. Online

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      Kean, John M. "A Rationale for Teaching Huckleberry Finn." EXPLORING Novels.

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      Mattews, Brander. Review: "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Thomas Cooley, ed.

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"Themes and Construction: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." EXPLORING Novels. Detroit:

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Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: WW Norton & Company, 1999.

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