The stories of “Little Big Man” and “Huckleberry Finn” are both picaresque novels due to their realistic characters and episodic adventures that the main characters go through throughout the stories. Picaresque stories also bring in satiric humor to criticize practices of society. The bulk of the entire story is told through these episodic adventures instead of focusing on a set goal. In “Huckleberry Finn”, Huck Finn finds many adventures with his runaway slave friend Jim while traveling on their raft. Jack Crabb also goes through many adventures ranging from watching comrades falling in battles to finding his supposed relatives in brothels.
One of the features of a picaresque novel is a main character that can be sometimes dishonest. In “Huckleberry Finn”, Huck uses dishonesty to his advantage. This can be seen in such instances as lying to the slave hunters to save Jim. “because it’s pap that’s there, and maybe you’d help me tow the raft ashore where the light is. He’s ...view middle of the document...
“Now I took hold of myself and reflected that little Amelia was all I had in the world. Either I got the money to make a proper woman of her, or we was back where we started.” “So what I done was to use a mirror ring.” (Little Big Man, pg. 321) This portrays Jack as a realistic character because he is a man who is willing to even do the wrong things to help the family members that he loves.
As previously stated, the stories are presented in an episodic format. Huck Finn and his runaway slave friend Jim go through these type of obstacles throughout the entire story. They can be caught up in an extreme family feud in one chapter to stumbling upon con artists claiming to be royalty in another. These adventures are episodic because they, mostly, have no permanent effect on the main story line and are usually resolved and never brought up again within a few chapters. Jack Crabb also goes through these sort of episodic adventures throughout “Little Big Man.” Like “Huckleberry Finn”, “Little Big Man” doesn’t appear to have a main objective that the
character is aiming for. The objectives change from chapter to chapter with every
new obstacle the main character encounters. In Jack Crabb’s case, this ranges from raising his supposed niece, whom he found in a brothel, to fighting in a battle against Indians.
“Huckleberry Finn” incorporates examples of satire in its story. These episodes of satire reflect Twain’s opinions on topics such as slavery. These examples include Miss Watson trying to be a “good Christian woman” but still is, herself, a slaveholder. Another may be seen when Pap becomes enraged about a black man being free and holding the right to vote as though he was less of a human even though the black man was better educated than Pap himself.”They said he was a p’fessor in a college… They said he could vote when he was at home… I’ll never vote ag’in.” (Huckleberry Finn, pg. 24)
Both novels follow the picaresque style throughout the entire story. Both Huck Finn and Jack Crabb are portrayed realistically as characters and react as such even in their many humorous adventures. There adventures show how they grow as characters through the story and find out who they really are in the end. While these characters can be dishonest, they have enough good qualities such as their good goals and their wits to obtain the reader’s admiration.