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The Great American Novel Essay

1178 words - 5 pages

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is “A Great American Novel”, because of its complexity and richness. Twain writes dialogue that brings his characters to life. He creates characters with unique voice and helps the reader connect to the book. Anyone who reads it is forced to develop feelings for each character. Even though there is a great amount of controversy over the use of some choices, such as the “n word”, it makes the book more realistic.
In the beginning of the novel Huck, a white boy, plays tricks on Jim, a slave, symbolizing that Huck had no respect for slaves and blacks. As the novel progresses, Huck starts to see Jim as a human rather than property, which makes the book interesting, because of Huck’s change in morals. For instance chapter 31 he was questioning whether he should turn Jim in “ It would get around, that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I ever see anybody from that town, I’d be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame.”(199, Twain). Although Huck feels that it is his duty to help Jim, he questions his own intentions many time. Throughout the novel, Huck struggles between what he thinks is morally right and what society tells him is right.
Twain constructs a parallelism between Huck’s enslavement from his abusive father and Jim’s enslavement due to slavery and, this upsets many people such as Julius Lester, “A boy held captive by a drunken father is not in the same category of human experience as a man enslaved. Twain willfully refused to understand what it meant to be legally owned by another human...Twain did not take slavery, and therefore black people, seriously.” (365, Lester), I beg to differ because this book reflects its era at the time and therefore Huck’s “enslavement” would be viewed as equal if not worse than slavery. Therefore this book is great because it could be interpreted in many ways. For example it could be interpreted as Twain just being realistic and truthfully depicting the time period or as racist. There are many scenes where themes can be interpret differently, such as Huck’s morality throughout the book, Jim’s intelligence, Huck’s intentions etc. Therefore no matter how many times this book is reread, it can be interpreted as either racist, realistic, or a novel that tracks a characters change in morality and gives the reader a chance to interact with the text, the reader will be able to learn a new idea or relate it to a new theme.
Twain gives each character a voice that makes the reader have true feelings for each of them as if they are real people, such as a love for Huck or annoyance with Tom. Tom is given off as more adventurous and literate. Tom also can be interpreted as having a more fictional way of solving problems. While debating on how to free Jim, Huck gives an easier and realistic way to free him, whereas Tom laughs at him “ ‘Huck Finn, did you ever hear of a prisoner having picks and shovels, and all the modern conveniences in his wardrobe...

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