Humanity Exposed in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
People are the picture of contrast, sometimes strong and heroic and other times weak and lamentable. In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain illustrates both the good and the disagreeable portions of human nature. The good side of humanity is shown through his depiction of peoples' courage. The irrationality of mankind is exposed through the actions of characters in the novel. The unproductive self-serving attitude of many people is also shown in Huck Finn. The benign and malevolent faces of humankind are shown through people's courageousness, senselessness, and selfishness.
Mark Twain displays good in humanity through depictions of courage in the characters of Huck Finn and Jim. Huck Finn was certainly one of the bravest characters in the book to have faced all of his adventures. When he and Jim happened upon a crashed steamboat, "The Walter Scott", and discovered a ruthless band of cutthroats, Huck had the courage to try and stop them. Huck said, "But if we [Huck and Jim] find their boat we can put all of 'em [the cutthroats] in a bad fix-for the Sheriff 'll get 'em" (Twain 90). Huck had the fearlessness to risk his own life to bring several murderous criminals to justice. The character Huckleberry Finn displayed the human virtue of heroism when he decided to free Jim from the clutches of the Phelps family. Although he thought it would cost him his soul, Huck had the courage to follow his heart in freeing Jim as summed up by his thought, "All right, then, I'll go to hell"(Twain 273). Twains other main character besides Huck Finn is a runaway slave. This slave, Jim, exemplified true courage. When Jim decided to escape from slavery he did so at the risk of his own life. Jim showed the effort and courage it took to escape from slavery in the quote, "I laid dah under de shavins all day. I 'uz hungry, but I warn't afeared: bekase I knowed ole missus en de wider wuz goin' to start to de camp-meetn'"(Twain 56). Also, when Jim gave up his freedom to help the wounded Tom Sawyer, he showed the greatest act of valor in the novel. As the doctor who treated Tom Sawyer in the end of the novel stated, "I never see a nigger that was a better nuss or faithfuller"(Twain 354). Although Mark Twain portrayed the natural strength in individuals through their courage, he also illustrated their weakness through their irrationality.
In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the flaw of absurdity is shown through Tom Sawyer and the Grangerford family. Tom Sawyer's ridiculous schemes show him to be one of the most senseless characters in the novel. In his plans to free Jim, Huck said, "every time a rat bit Jim, he would get up and write a little in his journal whilst the ink [blood] was fresh"(Twain 333). If Tom had not made his idiotic plans, then Jim would have been saved much pain. Also, Tom Sawyer had an...