Human Nature Exposed In The Single Most Important Piece Of American Literature, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Twain

1418 words - 6 pages

More than a century ago, Mark Twain probably composed the single-most important piece of American Literature to ever be composed. This work, widely known as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, essentially follows young Huck on a series of adventures and experiences with his close friend (and runaway slave), Jim, as they both escape society's burdens. The novel, in a sense, encompasses everything good, bad and in between about and concerning the society of that time. A majority of the novel takes place along the Mississippi river, with Young Huck, and Jim each striving to attain a common goal, freedom from the woes of society. In their journey, they come across many different people, and encounter many strange and new experiences that all relate to a common theme that is evident throughout the novel. As their journey progresses, the reader witnesses many horrific and surprising acts, all performed by none other than man himself. Looking deeper into the symbolistic meaning of many of these passages reveals that man, in essence , is cruel, silly, and hypocritical in nature.Through his writing, it becomes apparent that Twain supports the thematic idea of the human race being hypocritical. For instance, take the scene in Chapter 20 where a group of people in Arkansas are listening to the sermon of a preacher. In this descriptive passage, it can be inferred through Twain's writing that the average person of this time was in fact 'blinded' by religious influences. The significance of this event can be observed later on in Chapter 21 where Twain describes the horrific abuse of animals. 'There couldn't anything wake them up all over, and make them happy all over, like a dog-fight--unless it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him...' (Twain 140). In putting the two preceding passages in perspective a distinctive irony becomes visible. The same type of individuals whom practice religion in good faith turn around and perform cruel acts to animals, for sport of all things. This is hypocritical because the basis of religion is definitely not to support or defendCannistra 2such acts, but that doesn't seem to have any adverse affect upon the average personwho is merely 'blinded' by glamour of religion and what it stands for, not having any intention of carrying out it's plight. So all said and done, Twain wanted to make it clear to the reader in a subtle way that these two scenes, in conjunction support the statement that Twain's writing makes the human race out as hypocritical in nature.In addition of Twain using the experiences that Huck and Jim undergo to illustrate that man is hypocritical, he uses these experiences to show us that man is cruel and savage as well. Take, for instance this quote from Huck after he witnesses the massacre of the Grangerfords by the Shepardsons. 'It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree. I ain't a-going to tell all that happened--it would make me sick again if i was to do that' (Twain 115). That...

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1929 words - 8 pages their life. This is why Twain incorporates different aspects of society into the novel. Once Huck realizes the kind of person he wants to be, he starts to become even more brave than he already was. Twain wants the readers to connect with story, and he also wants to challenge the reader to find the Huck in themselves. Works Cited Baym, Nina, Wayne Franklin, Philip F. Gura, and Arnold Krupat. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 8th ed. Vol. C. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2007. 130-309. Print.

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