Mark Twain's Pessimistic Views Exposed In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1391 words - 6 pages

Mark Twain's Pessimistic Views Exposed in Huckleberry Finn

 
   In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain simply wrote about a boy and the

river. In doings so Twain presents the reader with his personal view of

mankind, whether he wants to or not:

 

            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

                will be shot. (2)

 

Possibly by giving us this warning Twain admits to the existence of a clear

motive, morality, and a strong plot in his masterpiece. Nonetheless,

Huckleberry Finn, through examples of hypocrisy, greed, violence, and

racism, shows Twain's pessimistic view of society and corruption of the

human race as a whole.

 

      To understand the pessimism of the book, we must first understand

Huck. Huck is a character though whose eyes we see the ugly truth about

mankind. Huck is always on the run from people. In the beginning we see him

living a prim and proper life with the widow. He is then abducted by his

father, and for a time is relieved to get out of the moral trappings of the

town, and live sloppily, doing whatever he wanted to do. "It was kind of

lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day." (24) After some time, and

being unable to endure the abuse of his father, he runs away. Huck is as

dissatisfied by one extreme as he is by the next. Huck  chooses not to take

sides on any matter, but instead be indifferent towards it. Huck avoids

moral decision making throughout the book as much as possible. In the end

of the book Twain saves Huck's indifferent persona by bringing in Tom to

make the decisions for him.

 

      Some may argue that in saving Jim , Huck saves face for the human

race, giving a sense of hope for the future. However, Huck must go about

freeing Jim in an underhanded manner, lying and stealing his way down the

river. Also, Twain himself cuts down the "salvation" of Jim by, in the last

chapters, revealing that the entire adventure was useless, that the same

ends could have been met by staying home.

 

      Violence plays a large role in the unflattering portrayal of man.

In the opening chapters we see young Huck joining Tom Sawyer's band of

murderers and thieves. "We stop stages and carriages on the road, with

masks on, and kill the people and take their watches and money." (10)

 

      Although the reader realizes that the "gang" never does any

physical harm to real people, the fact that this group of youngsters

fantasizes about committing acts that were evil even to the most ignorant,

shows the acceptance with which violence is perceived by man.

 

        When Huck fakes his own murder, he employs a fantastic knowledge of

graphic violence. He kills...

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