The Importance of Character in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the world’s most acclaimed books. Twain accomplishes this with his extraordinary power of humor, his use of dialect, and by creating complex and unique characters. Developing his characters is one of the greatest assets he has in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A character that exemplifies this most is Huck Finn, first appearing as rouge, but later transforming into a character with high moral values.
Early on in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we see Huck as a rogue figure. He jokes about killing people, and he insists that it must be fun. The idea of a gang seems good to Huck and all the other boys, so they all decide to "take an oath and write [their] name in blood" (Twain, 9). All of them are now part of this vicious gang and swear "to kill the families of boys that told secrets" (Twain, 9). The whole idea of doing things that are written about in books excites Huck, so he sticks with this plan and follows Tom; that is, until he gets on the river.
On the river, Huck and Jim are free of the society that binds them. Jim is free and does not bear any of the prejudices of the world that plague him on the shore, says Ben Christensen. Jim does not have to live in fear of being beaten for being himself and he does not have to worry about being called stupid. Also, he says that Huck is allowed to think for himself here -- unshaped by the thoughts of society. He is always saying how Jim does not act like any other black he had been told about. Huck’s morality prevails on the river (Christensen).
There are many spots on the river where Huck’s moral values can be seen. The first instance is when Huck plays the trick on Jim and says that there really is no fog. What did Huck care if it hurt Jim’s feelings? To Huck and the rest of the world, Jim was just a "nigger." But now, Huck has surpassed society’s values and knows that Jim has feelings, too. After telling Jim the truth about the fog prank, Huck sees Jim’s feelings and sees how he hurt them. Huck says that he went and "humbled [himself] to a nigger; but [he] done it, and [he] warn’t ever sorry for it either afterward, neither" (Twain, 84). He saw that Jim really did have feelings.
Duke and Dauphin also have a big impact on Huck’s morality. When Huck and Jim first let them on board, they agree "for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others" (Twain, 121). This shows that Huck has changed from a boy wanting murder, rape, and pillage, to a boy that knows better and sees how important peace on a little raft can be. Once Huck finds out that Duke and Dauphin are "low-down humbugs and frauds" (Twain, 121), he wants nothing more to do with him. Duke and Dauphin serve as opposites to Huck on the moral spectrum. Duke and Dauphin mislead and trick people for fun and other...