Huckleberry Finn is a character whose main purpose seems similar to emphasize similarities to the Iliad. This statement is supported by the fact that fate seems to be character in Twain’s story just as it was a character in the Iliad. The essay will support the idea that Huck Finn is not in control of his own fate but rather chance or happenstance occurs to him at the beginning of the novel and it is not until he realizes the true nature of himself, and man that he has control over his own destiny.
This moment of epiphany occurs when he realizes slavery is wrong and that Jim should be in control of his own fate as well. The events leading up to Huck’s stay with the widow Douglas he accounts are no fault of his own, as the metaphor of the story is found with the great Mississippi River so does Huck Finn’s life simply flow along until he makes a conscious choice. This choice comes into being when Huck decides that ‘sivilised’ life is not for him.
In the rejection of civilized life Twain is brining in elements of Emerson’s ideals: Huck Finn is a very simplistic character and his thwarting of Widow Douglas best attempts of making him presentable to society. The concept of choice is what propels the plot forward in Twain’s writing – the book is almost akin to an odyssey as Finn has to make a physical journey down the river with Jim, as well as a metaphorical journey as Finn also has to come to some realizations about his society and standards and freedom concerning slavery.
It is this twofold journey that makes Twain’s story so alluring to a wide range of audiences. The novel gives the reader both nature and civilization to think about in the course of this journey. While nature moves to incorporate the concept of freedom being something someone is born with to the more urban landscape (urban in a rural sense) in which civilization is not as civil as one would think.
Thus, Twain is giving equal measures of story plot mixed in with the irony of this civilization and the idea of making someone civil in a society that so clearly does not proportion civility to all of its members. Thus, it may be surmised that Huck’s doffing off of nature is Twain’s own sentiment on the subject of culture and the evilness of society which is why the book should not be banned, because it allows for the reader to have an adequate depiction of the social customs, bigotry, and manners of the time.
The point of the novel is to remember these times in order so that we do not as a society repeat our mistakes. If Finn can come to a realization of a man’s personal freedom being born to him and not something someone should have to give him, or take away from him (all this from an adolescent) then the pillars of a society that marks their claim on enslavement can not morally be obliged to call themselves civilization for their means of society are not civil.
Huck’s moral development is less gradual and actually consists of several insights: 1) first encounter with Jim as a fugitive slave and the initial desire to help him; 2) The loss of the companion after meeting the “aristocrats” and Jim’s imprisonment in Phelpses’ house. Huck Finn’s social characteristics remain practically the same, as the author seeks to maintain the reader’s focus on the advancement of his moral qualities, so that the adolescent still remains to some extent uncommitted to social norms (“Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it” (Twain 1999, Ch. 3), in spite of having developed his distinct attitude towards slavery. Mark Twain design the plot structure, which underlines the failures and subsequent insights of the protagonist, embed the central theme into the main character’s spiritual growth and substantially change the protagonist’s social features, except Huck’s case, in which the focus on morality shift is broadened through remaining social characteristics stable.
In Huckleberry Finn’s disappearance from civilized life, after his father kidnaps him and Huck fakes his own death, the voice of Emerson is best found with Jim the slave, as Margolis states, “…to defend Huckleberry Finn’s treatment of Jim of the use of racial epithets by pointing to the novel’s irony is to dismiss the legitimate concerns of African Americans who experience the book not as a satire of racial injustice but as a form of racial insult. ” (Margolis 330).
However, what is overlooked in this statement is that Finn becomes civilized toward civil rights and once he grows to now what a man’s freedom means, he recognizes Jim as a man who deserves his freedom- to recognize the story as anything else would be denying Huck Finn the ability to grow and understand. Jim gives advice to Huckleberry Finn about the disappointments found in the world and how a man may be able to handle himself by making conscious choices.
In the litany of Emerson, this concept is also found by way of Emerson stating that a scholar must gather for himself the appropriate information from different books in order to find an organized opinion about a subject and to take a side of each books’ opinion in order to find himself. Jim states similarly to Finn that he should experience what life has to offer and decide for himself the difference between right and wrong, morality and immoral nature.
Thus, the point of going down the Mississippi is to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible in order to later filter opinion from fact, one’s own thoughts from society’s mores. It is in the creation of man’s own thoughts, of Finn deciding throughout the journey that no man should be a slave that Huckleberry Finn becomes a man, becomes an American scholar since he is finally thinking for himself.
He rejects Widow Douglas, his father, society in whole and travels with Jim collecting his own thoughts and deciding what is wrong and what is right in the nature of man. Thus, not only does the novel make mention of social status but also of child abuse; these are two very hot topics to debate, however, if the book were banned it would only be a way in which these issues would not have a form of dialogue and thus communication, which is a necessary part of healing, could not be established.
Huck’s action consists in the part of the story where the Dauphin capture Jim and subsequently sells him in order to receive the reward. Huck is completely outraged by this betrayal and in the course of the story this signifies the first time that he acts upon his own judgment and he rejects the advice of his conscience which tells him that by helping Jim escape to freedom he is in a way stealing Miss Watson’s property.
Huck tells himself, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell! “, Huck resolves to free Jim, thus the protagonist of the book comes to an epiphany on the social status of all of mankind as equal, and it is this fact that allows the book to be such a masterpiece; the child of the story comes to a conclusion about how man should be treated based from his own experiences, the character is permited to grow; this is a lesson unto itself in the story, and what it gives its audience.
Thus, there would be no point, no good, in banning Twain’s novel (Schwartz 13). Huckleberry Finn in this capacity of multiple vocations (river boatman, swindler, farmer, etc) has shown that he has embraced all labors; although his particular shine to each vocation has had varying degrees of acceptance, Finn does in fact possess himself, as Schulten states, “’I’m glad I had to do this’ she says, ‘I didn’t think I need the workshop but it did make me more sensitive.
Racism is the worst problem in our society. I want to teach the kids to be heroes the way Huck is a hero when he tears up that letter and realizes that Jim is a man. Like Huck, they have to learn to make decisions by themselves, no matter what our society says’” (Schulten 59). The genius of Twain’s protagonist is that he does not sequester each idea into its limited genre; Finn does not maintain the same identity but his character grows in each identity.
By creating a character in this fashion, Twain has emphasized the importance of the social commentary, and thus, proven the worth of this piece of literature. As a man thinking then, Huckleberry Finn illustrates his life as such; the past instructing him; Huck learns from his mistakes and takes everything into consideration before acting as can be witnessed in his debate over whether or not steal Jim and give him his freedom.
Huckleberry Finn also invites the future; he wants change and part of the reason he travels so meanderingly around the country landscape is to incite this change. He is tired of civilized life so he ventures out into the wilderness. In traveling on the river Finn comes to an epiphany, and it is this epiphany which should be the focus of discussions on whether or not the book should be banned, because this is the book’s quality, a young man’s epiphany of equality.