Huck Finn - Mark Twain's Views


Huck Finn - Mark Twain's Views

Throughout the Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) novel, The

Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn, a plain and striking point of view is
expressed by the author. His point of view is that of a cynic; he
looks upon civilized man as a merciless, cowardly, hypocritical
savage, without want of change, nor ability to effect such change.

Thus, one of Mark Twain's main purposes in producing this work seems
clear: he wishes to bring to attention some of man's often concealed
shortcomings. While the examples of Mark Twain's cynic commentaries on
human nature can be found in great frequency all through the novel,
several examples seem to lend themselves well to a discussion of this
sarcastic view. In the beginning of the novel, it would seem that
both Huck Finn and Jim are trapped in some way and wishing to escape.

For Huck, it is the violence and tyranny of his drunken father. Kept
in a veritable prison, Huck wishes desperately to escape. Jim feels
the need to escape after hearing that his owner, Miss Watson, wishes
to sell him down the river-a change in owners that could only be for
the worse. As they escape separately and rejoin by chance at an island
along the river, they find themselves drawn to get as far as possible
from their home. Their journey down the river sets the stage for most
of Mark Twain's comments about man and society. It is when they stop
off at various towns along the river that various human character
flaws always seem to come out. Examples of this would include the
happenings after the bringing on of the Duke and King. These two con
artists would execute the most preposterous of schemes to relieve
unsuspecting townspeople of their cash. The game of the King
pretending to be a reformed marauder-turned-missionary at the tent
meeting showed that people are gullible and often easily led,
particularly when in groups and subjected to peer pressure. The
execution of the Royal Nonesuch showed another instance of people in
society being subject to manipulation. The fact that, after being
taken by a poor show they sent rave reviews of it to their friends to
avoid admitting they had been conned showed that people in groups are
ever afraid of losing status, and will do nearly anything to protect
such. Both the King and the Duke, also, showed such a ridiculous
degree of corruptness that it is difficult to believe that all humans
aren't at least somewhat evil. Another point made by the author is
that of most men being basically cowards. A good example of this was
when Col. Sherburn shot the drunk Boggs and the townsfolk came after

Sherburn to lynch him. After Sherburn, one man with only a shotgun,
held off the immense mob and made them disperse, it was obvious that
no individual really had the courage to go through with the lynching.

The idea that people are basically savages, confined for the moment by
society, is shown in more than one instance, such as when the group
was preparing to hang Huck and the King over their plot to defraud the
daughters, or, more obvious, in the war between the Shephardsons and
the Grangerfords. The aspect of people being basically hypocrites is
seen at the beginning when Miss Watson displays a degree of
hypocriticality on insisting that Huck follow the Widow and become
civilized, while at the same time deciding to sell Jim into a hard
life down the river. A final point seems to be that Man is continually
fleeing from something. At the end, Jim and Huck found themselves at
the end of their journey, neither having anything left to run from as

Huck's father was dead and Jim was a free man. It would seem, then
that Huck and Jim had run a thousand miles down the river and ended up
where they had started from. From the above examples, one can see some
of the author's point in producing 'Huck Finn.' It is apparent that

Mark Twain wishes society to realize its shortcomings and the
limitations imposed by human nature. He realizes that people will not
change, but feels that they should be aware of who they are, of what
comes with this thing we call humanity. That is Mark twain's main
purpose in writing this novel.

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