The Significance Of The Physical Journey In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1608 words - 6 pages

The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain has been called many things, over the years, by critics and scholars. Along with the plethora of criticism about its’ depiction of slavery and its’ use of the word “nigger”, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered by many to be the father of all American Literature. This high praise is puzzling, considering all its’ faults coupled with its’ unsatisfying ending. However upon a deeper examination of the text itself a parallel emerges among The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the classic Greek epics. In both novels an epic journey is employed by the author to provide a moral education to the main character, as well as shaping the plot and adding meaning to the story as a whole. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the physical journey is what makes the book a classic, it not only provides a moral schooling for Huck, and it is a safe sanctuary for Huck and Jim against the ills of 18th century America.
While playing many roles in the story the physical journey provides a moral education for Huck. Essentially, it shows Huck from the beginning of the novel, who hunted A-rabs and played a distasteful practical joke on Jim, the consequences of immorality by showing the damaging repercussions of immoral behavior. One of the greatest examples of the negative effects of immoral behavior on others is demonstrated by the actions of the King and the Duke. Their schemes caused irreparable damage to individuals and the towns they visited. When the King and the Duke pose as missionaries and collect donations from church-goers Huck sees the damage inflicted upon the townspeople because of this scheme. He, for the first time, empathizes with a group of people and realizes that the repercussions on both parties outweigh the money collected. This continues when the King and the Duke put on a play for the people of another town. He again sees how the King and the Dukes scheme cause damage to society. Their inveigle performance made the townspeople so angry at the King and the Duke for tricking them that they turned against their neighbors and gave a positive review of the performance, so they too would waste their money. Not only were the townspeople unfairly punished by the scheme, but the King and the Duke received retribution for their actions when they were ran out of town by the townspeople. Again, Huck, a pragmatic spectator of the situation realizes that when actions are immoral no one wins. In addition to learning about the consequences of tricking and stealing from another he learns about the consequences of not forgiving another group of people when he meets the Grangerfords. Although he is impressed by their stature and kindness he begins to question why such a dignified family follows an age-old tradition so blindly ,"They don't know now what the row was about in the first place"(Twain 111). The ignorance of the feud is then magnified by the killing, which ends Huck’s stay. He is so...

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