Huckleberry Finn: A Freudian Perspective Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

     In Mark Twain’s American classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we are told of the undertakings of the main character, Huck Finn. He is young, mischievous boy who distances himself from the torment of his home life by escaping with Jim, a runaway slave who is his only friend. As the novel continues, we find that the structure of Mr. Twain’s writing is redolent of certain aspects of Freudian psychology. More specifically, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be interpreted using the Oedipus complex ,which is one the defining works of Dr. Sigmund Freud. It basically states that a young male has an irrepressible subconscious desire to do away with his father so that he may be more intimate with his mother. Three aspects that corroborate this argument are: 1. Huck Finn’s unending will to separate himself from his father, 2. The Mississippi River as a symbol for Huck’s maternal figure, and 3. The character of Jim is a secondary maternal figure in the novel.
     Huck Finn possesses an unending will to separate himself from his father, Pap. In the beginning of the story we meet Huck’s father, a brutally hateful man who has absolutely no care or affection for his son.

During Huck and Pap’s first meeting in the book, we see how he actually treats his son. The first words out of his mouth concerned the large amounts of money that Huckleberry and another character, Tom Sawyer, had stumbled upon. When Huck turns this money in to an unfair judge, Huck’s father immediately wants to get his hands on it. When he finds out that he cannot cash in on his son’s good fortune, things seem to turn much worse for the young boy. One thing leads to another and Pap continues to chastise Huck for the so called “outrageous instances” that Huck has undertaken in his father’s absence. Not very soon after Huck and Pap’s reunion, Huck decides that he must leave his father. Huckleberry decides that he must “murder” him in a sense, by deserting him and cutting off their relationship altogether. Huck persists to separate himself from his father by creating an elaborate scheme to falsely portray his death. One day when Pap is on a journey into town, Huck implements his seemingly foolproof scheme by capturing a pig in the wooded area that surrounds their quaint cabin. Huck slaughters the pig and then pools the blood around the floor of the cabin to make it seem as if Pap has killed him to collect the money that Huck would legally leave behind in his untimely death. To make the scene even more convincing, he takes a few of his own hairs and sticks them to the blade of a nearby axe and also drags the pig carcass out to the river, creating the drag marks in the dirt of a child sized body, adding to the perfect crime scene. As Huck is hiding in the woods,

he learns that everyone believes that he is deceased, which then allows him to escape from Pap, effectively “murdering” Huck’s fatherly figure....

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