Huck Finn: America’s Fascination with the Bad Boy
Throughout the history of American Literature, the use of the ‘bad boy’ or the rebel in the literature has always fascinated readers. We may ask ourselves why would a bad person with typically bad morals and a bad attitude appeal to people in society? American society typically flocks toward certain characters in literature, based on their character. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, we are able to examine one of the most famous rebellious young men in the history of American literature. Huck reveals all the typical qualities of a ‘bad boy’, while retaining his inner compassion. Through analysis of Huck and other characters in American Literature, we can come to a conclusion that the ‘bad boy’ is usually a character that is non-conforming to society, such as in religion, school, and moral standards, while retaining their compassion inside. Although these rebellious boys may look tough and scary on the outside, on the inside they actually have a good heart and are able to have feelings such as remorse, regret, love, and compassion for others. In addition, there is a thin line between the American bad boy that we all know and love, and truly a bad person. Both come off tough on the outside, but it is the inner character that will separate ‘the men from the boys’. The rebellious boy we are fascinated boy has a good heart, while the other ‘bad boy’ is bad in all aspects. People are drawn to the inner moral fiber, not how bad people are on the outside. This is why Huck is so famous in literary history. It is evident that he has a tough outside, but a caring personality on the inside.
Huck is far from a typical child in all aspects of his character, life experiences, and maturity. Huck doesn’t conform to society whatsoever, and has his own opinion about everything. In a society as religious as his, he says a lot of cruel things about religion and what he thinks of it, especially when it comes to hell. “Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there. She got mad, then, but I didn’t mean no harm. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn’t say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place.” (Twain 33). Huck clearly displays his thinking on religion through the quote, and doesn’t really care about religion. Everyone else in the society would be very offended by this, considering they are all very religious people. In addition, Huck hates school in the beginning when he first starts. “…and I don’t reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever. I don’t take no stock in the mathematics anyway. At first I hated school, but by and by I got so I could stand it. Whenever I got uncommon tired I played hookey, and the hiding I got next day done me good and cheered me up.” (Twain 43). Although he does get used to it after awhile,...