The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Analysis
‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ (1884) has been the greatest work of Mark Twain. The structure and theme of the novel turned this work surpass over time and tide of the world. Several relationships influence the protagonist, Huck such as that of Tom, Joe Harper, etc in the former novel of the writer, ‘Tom Sawyer’ (1876). The former experiences usher Huck to undertake the adventure in the novel ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ in which he himself is the hero. Who is the superior character –the protagonist, Huck or the Black boy, Jim-has been a disputable question in this novel? Of course, the superior character is the protagonist himself, but the most beneficiary character is Jim, the slave boy. The author, Twain brilliantly takes part in the protagonist himself as Huck himself is a replica of the author. T.S. Eliot considers Huck as “Huck Finn is alone: there is no more solitary character in fiction. The fact that he has a father only emphasizes his loneliness, and he views his father with a terrifying detachment. So we come to see Huck himself in the end as one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction…” (Bloom18). The whole novel is narrated from the point of view of Huck. Jim is a character found by Huck himself as Jim was scared of Huck when he saw him on Jackson’s island after running away from Miss Watson. Here Jim is seen as a weak character having no voice and is afraid of everything. Huck acts as superior to Jim and consoles him by swearing that he would not report him. So starts the new adventure of both the boys into freedom and maturity. The novel denotes the impulsive plunge into the cravings of freedom through the river Mississippi and reaches as far south as Cairo, Illinois where both expect to get another steamboat that leads to Ohio, a free territory. The master brain is Huck himself and the Negro boy, Jim acts as submissive to Huck. Lionel Trilling speaks out, “To Huck much of the charm of the river life is human: it is the raft and the wigwam and Jim. He has not run away from Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas and his brutal father to completely individualistic liberty, for in Jim he finds his true father, very much as Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s Ulysses finds his true father in Leopold Bloom” (Bloom 8).
Regardless to admit the supremacy and master brain of Huck throughout the novel, one cannot deny the fact that the neediest person in the novel is Jim. He is badly in need of freedom from Miss Watson and so his cravings can be termed as political. Sure both need freedom but the mental (ambition to maturity) freedom of Huck is at many junctures are put down by the political freedom of Jim. Jim’s true needs for freedom in the novel are shown through the following words. “Most essentially, what Huck seeks from Jim is that most universal of human needs and potentialities: love. Huckleberry Finn at this moment and several others achieve quite a remarkable expressiveness of a boy’s potential to experience love” (Jackson 42).
The river, Mississippi, in the novel, is the symbol of their passage to freedom whereas the person crowded on the banks of it makes impediments for their freedom. The raft is seen as a medium through which they can attain freedom but when it is seen that the raft is destroyed by the large steamboat they both had to jump into the river for life. These are the external forces that curtail their freedom. This separated them and it is only when the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons fought each other they got the opportunity to escape again. The Duke and the dauphin are also other destructive forces that make troubles on them. The poor Jim believed the two frauds but the experienced Huck decided to humor them. This shows the scholarly attributes of Huck over Jim.
When Jim was put in great trouble of being a runaway slave Huck tries his level best to help him. Meanwhile, Jim had to undergo many great torments of hiding and living in most fearsome situations. Being futile all attempts he was caught by the neighbors and then Tom reveals the fact that Miss. Watson died two months back and Jim is no longer a slave. The final announcement of Jim that Papp is no more, too, relieves Huck from all bounds. When the readers feel that both are in trouble the character Tom and his aunt come for their help and finally it is seen that both get freedom in accordance with their needs. Huck was adopted by Aunt Sally and three of them are planning for new adventures.
The writer, Twain represents Huck in many ways. He was more like Huck in his indifference to fame and audience. The writer also had much compassion for the Black people of the country. He could very well make use of the civil war aspects in this novel and making the novel more socially involved. The readers may, at first sight, think Huck has more prominence it cannot be forgotten that the needs of Jim are genuine and higher than that of Huck. Jim always lives in the shadow whereas Huck leads in all the ways.
The picture of Huck is shown brighter all throughout the novel. In all the levels it is seen that Huck is ready for any changes, “So when Huck works himself up “to go and humble me to a nigger” (italics mine), his actions are those not of one individual making a single, personal decision; rather, it is a decision that implies necessary societal changes and (re)visioning”(Chadwick-Joshua 57).
But as far as political freedom is considered more urgent in one’s life Jim outshines Huck. He was experienced prior to adventure with Tom Sawyer and he is ready for the new one. But the case of Jim is entirely different: he had no such company and no experience. His figure makes pain among the readers of the novel.
The novel puts forward two main characters-Huck and Jim and finally, the influence of Tom Sawyer once more made clear too. The dominance of Tom towards the climax of the novel makes Huck a little bit pushed down. In analyzing the whole novel it is vivid that the neediest person and the most benefited one of the novels is the Black slave boy, Jim and to some extend Huck’s many attempts were to rescue Jim. When the good news announced by Tom readers feel relieved from the great tension. The climax of the novel is the vision of the writer and the period. This makes the novel a unique one of the types.
Works Cited: Bloom, Harold. Huck Finn. Illustrated edition, Infobase Publishing, 2004. Print., Chadwick-Joshua, Jocelyn. The Jim dilemma: reading race in Huckleberry Finn. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1998. Print., Jackson, Robert. Seeking the region in American literature and culture: modernity, dissidence, innovation. Illustrated edition. LSU Press, 2005. Print.