Huckleberry Finn Essays & Paper Examples

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Term Paper On Huckleberry Finn's Ending

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Many literary scholars and critics complain that Mark Twain is not able to fully tie up The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with its ending. They feel that Twain s ending contradicted everything Huck Finn had gone through up to that point. However, these reactions seem to be a result of overanalyzing of the literature. Huck has not reverted back to his former ways by the end of the story. It is at the end of the novel where Huck Finn began to understand his own morality and begins to recognize how and why he must use it. The driving theme in this novel seemed to be Huck Finn s acceptance and rejection of values and morals that he discovered in his experiences. Huck went from being a passive, unsure boy to becoming a confident young adult with a good sense of right and wrong. Critics argue that Twain destroys Huck s progress by ending the book the way he did. For example, they point to Huck freeing Jim as being unnecessary because of Miss Watson freeing him in her will. However, Huck s attempts to free Jim illustrate his newly founded love for Jim. Although Twain does give the reader a reason for Miss Watson freeing Jim, we still can see how much Huck has matured over the course of the novel. That part of the ending may seem a bit unresolved, but it helps show the reader just how much different Huck views both his own life and the lives of those around him. Huck went from thinking of Jim as simply Miss Watson s nigger to risking his own freedom for his newest, and quite possibly closest, friend. Another point that many critics bring up is the way that Tom Sawyer again entered Huck s life and seemed to have full control over Huck again. However, this is not true because Huck learns that everything Tom says is not correct. He stills follows Tom s lead though, which many feel is Huck reverting back to his old ways of blindly doing as Tom said. However, Huck has metamorphosed into a different person by the end of the book. His following Tom is an example of his ability to remain faithful to Tom. It is almost as if Huck were humoring Tom, not wanting to hurt his friend s feelings. Huck knew that it was better for their friendship if he continued to play the role of a passive supporter to Tom s constant need for heroism and adventure. Huck, acting as a true friend, did not wish to try and disagree with something in which his friend so strongly believed. Huck allowed Tom to become the hero while he went back into the more comfortable shadows of obscurity. Although it would seem like Huck has not grown, his actions show the reader that Huck did not need to be in the limelight to be heroic. He simply operated better without the eyes of society on him. Critics also argue that Huck changes back to his old ways of avoiding situations he did not like by running away at the end. However, by having him run away again at the end, Twain illustrated Huck s need for independence. We saw how unnatural Huck felt while living with Miss Watson and the widow. Huck does not run away again because he has not learned to function as a part of society. Instead, he runs away because he has lived among the good and evil aspects of it and has seen that, if he were to try and live within society, it is not an environment that would allow Huck to be himself. The character of Huck Finn would not be able to live his life fully with the restrictions that were placed on him. Is there anything wrong with Huck not wanting to be a part of the rest of society? With Huck s experiences, it would seem abnormal to actually want to be a part of such a society. As Ernest Hemingway said, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn became the model on which all other American literature has been based. Huck Finn, with his resisting of the evils of society, became the model of every American hero to follow. Huck Finn can be looked at as the anti-hero. He sought no glory and did not try to help many people. Huck, though, was the original rebel. He befriended, and helped free, a slave. Huckleberry Finn went against almost everything society had thrown his way. What makes him heroic, though, is that he did it because of what was in his heart. He rejected greed, self-righteousness, and racism. The ending of Huck Finn may seem a bit contrived, but it does not, and cannot, detract from the heroism of Huckleberry Finn. The controversy surrounding the ending to Mark Twain s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should not be focused on Twain s possible artistic failure. Rather, we should see the fact that such a controversy exists is really only indicative of our need, as readers, to find morals and meanings in literature. Too often, though, we forget that literature is often written with the purpose of entertainment in mind. After all, Mark Twain himself warned the reader to not look for morals in Huck Finn. Why do, we as readers, always need to look for symbols and ideals in our literature? That should be the real source of controversy.

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