Huckleberry Finn – Essay Example

Huckleberry Finn – Essay Example

Huckleberry Finn – also known as Huck – is one of the most well-known and beloved fictional characters in literary history. Originally introduced in the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, the character soon owned his own legacy in the 1884 novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The character then appeared in a number of other Mark Twain stories, including some unfinished pieces.

Descriptions of Huckleberry Finn are all fairly similar. He is a young boy, around thirteen years of age, possessing a mischievous reputation and adventurous spirit. Otherwise, his physical appearance is rarely described, though he is often wearing old, worn-out, dirty clothing. Living in the old South town of St. Petersburg, Huck Finn is extremely poor and uneducated, often resorting to stealing in order to survive. He possesses an abusive, drunken father, but no mother. He is also a close friend of another Mark Twain character, Tom Sawyer. Many mothers and law-abiding townspeople find Huck Finn vulgar, but many critics and readers actually stand by Huck as one of the most morally appealing characters in Mark Twain’s stories, as he is extremely innocent and often chooses a correct course of action in extreme circumstances. It is widely believed that Mark Twain based Huck Finn’s character off of a real, poor boy living in Twain’s town in Mississippi.

Huckleberry Finn’s adventures often involve his friend Tom Sawyer, and include falling in and out of all sorts of trouble – from witnessing a murder to finding stolen gold. Finn’s first main achievement came when he saved the life of Widow Douglas, who returned the favor by adopting and attempting to educate him. Huck Finn dislikes this arrangement and eventually escapes, an act that leads him to his next great achievement. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Finn meets the Widow’s sister and helps aid her escaped slave – Jim – in traveling to the North to obtain freedom. This event is one of the few that displays Huckleberry Finn’s correct ‘moral compass.’

Despite the original Mark Twain novels, Huck Finn can also be found in a number of film, television and theatrical releases. There are even musicals and ballets revolving around the character’s adventures. Themes surrounding the character and his adventures include racial discrimination, social values and hierarchal hypocrisy. Huckleberry Finn’s name is recognized the world round, and he was one of the most complex and successful characters of Mark Twain’s entire career.