This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Critical Analysis Of Huckleberry Finn

7748 words - 31 pages

Critical Analysis of Huckleberry Finn

In outlawing reading for motive, moral, and plot, the notice
proleptically--if unsuccessfully--attempts to ward off what in fact
has become an unquestioned assumption behind most interpretations of
Huckleberry Finn, namely, the premise that the text affords a critique
of its extraliterary context by inveighing against the inequities of
racism. In Mark Twain: The Fate of Humor James M. Cox analyzes why
such readings of the novel are problematic. His contention, anomalous
with respect to Mark Twain criticism in general, is that the novel
mounts an attack against conscience, specifically the conscience of
the moral reader. He locates this attack in the last ten chapters of
the novel--the famous Phelps farm episode--and maintains that the
discomfort and disapproval readers feel about Tom's cruelty toward Jim
stems from their own identification with Tom:

If the reader sees in Tom's performance a rather shabby and safe bit
of play, he is seeing no more than the exposure of the approval with
which he watched Huck operate. For if Tom is rather contemptibly
setting a free slave free, what after all is the reader doing, who
begins the book after the fact of the Civil War? . . . when Tom
proclaims to the assembled throng who have witnessed his performance
that Jim `is as free as any creature that walks this earth,' he is an
exposed embodiment of the complacent moral sentiment on which the
reader has relied throughout the book. And to the extent the reader
has indulged the complacency he will be disturbed by the ending.[2]

Cox proceeds to move his argument to a more general level by showing
how the novel exposes the principle upon which morality, and its
internalized representative, conscience, are constructed. As "an agent
of aggression--aggression against the self or against another,"
conscience deprives the individual of free choice and subjects him or
her to painful restraint (Cox, Mark Twain, p. 177).

{2} While Cox's reading compellingly provides the grounds for
understanding the rationale behind the notice at the beginning of the
novel, I will argue that conscience, while an "agent of aggression,"
is represented as an ambivalent force whose effects, while
undisputably violent, cannot be dissociated from a certain
epistemological or cognitive necessity.

{3} Cox's analysis of the novel's depiction of conscience as enacting
self- and other-directed aggression and as a constraint upon free
choice certainly describes the spirit in which Huck flees from the
moral sensibility of the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson.
When Huck climbs out of the window and joins Tom on his evening
adventures, he attempts to elude the vestments of society, both
literally and figuratively: like clothing, the metaphorical terms that
the Widow imposes...

Find Another Essay On Critical Analysis of Huckleberry Finn

Censorship of Huckleberry Finn Essay

1240 words - 5 pages Censorship of Huckleberry Finn As parents, it is important for you to know what information your child receives, especially in the learning environment of a classroom. The thought of your child reading a racially offensive book is unacceptable. Some people find Mark Twain'sThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn racially offensive. If you as parents perceive this book to be offensive, it may lead some of you to request that teachers and

Censorship of Huckleberry Finn Essay

1240 words - 5 pages Censorship of Huckleberry Finn As parents, it is important for you to know what information your child receives, especially in the learning environment of a classroom. The thought of your child reading a racially offensive book is unacceptable. Some people find Mark Twain'sThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn racially offensive. If you as parents perceive this book to be offensive, it may lead some of you to request that teachers and

Review of "Huckleberry Finn"

1067 words - 4 pages the book undoubtedly will be the selling point of the book, which has a weak plot; hence, "here is very little literary art in the story. It is a string of incidents ingenuously fastened together." The article also attacks the characters," Huckleberry Finn is, in a restricted sense, a typical character...the type is not desirable, nor is it one that must parents want a future of promise or their young folks without some hesitation. Tom Sawyer and

Humanity of Huckleberry Finn

1813 words - 8 pages . Humanity is being able to ignore the natural instinct of complying with the views of society and instead show the compassion and mercy to see one another as a human being. It is stopping unjust behavior to help others become more equal. Humanity is a blend of kindness, care, and a restoration of dignity. Twain’s Huckleberry Finn implies that Huck must leave “sivilized” society in order to find his humanity. Twain’s view of humanity is that of a

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

2200 words - 9 pages As Marcel Proust said, “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Set 20 years before the Civil War, Mark Twain’s novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, depicts the adventures of a young troublemaker named Huck Finn and his companion, a runaway slave named Jim. Throughout the journey, Huck is depicted as a hero, cut from the mythical mold. At every step of his journey, he

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Analysis of Huck

1517 words - 7 pages everything up. He is also very confused when it comes to learning about heaven and hell; he just wants to go where his best friend Tom Sawyer goes. He will eventually find his way and learn the right way to doing things as he becomes older and more mature. Works Cited "Biography for Huckleberry Finn (Character)." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer By Mark Twain Character Analysis Huck Finn." Huck Finn. N.p

Literary Analysis For Huckleberry Finn

1204 words - 5 pages In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, Twain paints a colorful portrait of his life growing up in the south. Originally intended to be just a “fun” narrative about his childhood, Twain’s novel evolved into something much greater by criticising slavery and advocating for the rights of african-americans. The themes that the book represents were revolutionary in their time, something only accomplished through the narratives of Twain. The

Character analysis on HuckleBerry Finn

1227 words - 5 pages values contradict society's unjust principles toward a minority group, will act on their own conscience. In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain presents Huck, the main character, as a person who boldly operates on his own instincts and rules to avoid the cruel standards of the otherwise "civilized" society. Huck's maturity and ability to act on a higher moral standard than that of society develops as his relationship deepens with a runaway slave named Jim

The Controversy of Huckleberry Finn

1912 words - 8 pages Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn. Durham [N.C.: Duke UP, 1992. Print. Nilon, Charles H., “The Ending of Huckleberry Finn, ‘Freeing the Free Negro’” Durham 62-76 Wallace, John H., “The Case Against Huck Finn” Durham 16-24 Twain, Mark, Gerald Graff, and James Phelan. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Case Study in Critical Controversy. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 1995. Print. Chwast, Seymour., “Selling Huck Down the River” Bedford Smiley, Jane

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

1358 words - 5 pages head, roast a part of it, which Jim then eats together with some whiskey. Jim also makes Huck put the snake’s rattles around his wrist, just to wish away bad luck. Miraculously, although Jim is in a critical condition for the next four days, he recovers, further cementing his superstitious beliefs. Jim’s moderate nature eventually starts to have an effect on Huckleberry Finn. At the beginning, Huck’s uncivilized nature made him regard Jim as a

The Meanings of Huckleberry Finn

1817 words - 8 pages The Meanings of Huckleberry Finn “The finest clothing made is a person's own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.” – Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a bildungsroman that conveys to the reader a deeper insight to human nature and behavior. The novel picks up after The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and we are reunited the protagonist Huck Finn. Throughout the course of the novel we watch Huck

Similar Essays

Critical Book Review Of The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

738 words - 3 pages The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel about the uncivilized river life of a boy named Huckleberry Finn, but is also the portrayal of life in the south before the Civil War. Mark Twain wrote this novel and its predecessor The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Twain grew up along the Mississippi River in Missouri and had a rough childhood. But he became one of America's greatest authors. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is well-written

Literary Analysis: The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1968 words - 8 pages The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” (Twain, ix) Mark Twain opens his book with a personal notice, abstract from the storyline, to discourage the reader from looking for depth in his words. This severe yet humorous personal caution is written as such almost

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn: Literary Analysis

752 words - 4 pages One of the overarching themes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the hypocrisy of society. While some people act virtuous and proper, they may not be all that they seem. Some treat others like dirt, yet claim that they themselves will be going to heaven, while others preach of morals while they themselves steal the money from unknowing people. Others, well, they talk of loving your neighbor, but they don’t do the same in any sense. The

Huckleberry Finn Analysis Essay

1909 words - 8 pages The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Analysis Essay “The situation of the orphan is truly the worst, you’re a child, powerless, with no protectors or guides. It’s the most vulnerable position you can be in, to see someone overcome those odds tells us something about the human spirit. They are often depicted as the kindest or most clever of characters.” Michelle Boisseau describes how important these types of characters are. In a Sunday