The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Huck’s Style of Speech
The narrator and protagonist of the novel, Huck is a thirteen-year old son from the town drunk. Huck spends most of his time travelling down the Mississippi River with his friend Jim after escaping from his abusive father. Despite the fact that Huck is not educated his uses his intellect to survive. He is intelligent, thoughtful and ready to come to his judgments and conclusions on important matters even if it means contradicting with the norms of the society. Since, he is still a boy; Huck is greatly influenced by others especially by his friend, Tom.
Through the use of a small boy’s speech, the author twain, is attempting to illustrate the differences between the vulnerability and powerlessness of a child and the vulnerability and powerlessness of the black during the pre-civil war America (Twain 21). In the novel, as a boy who was brought up in a relatively humble background and lived in the margins of the society, Huck in his speech speak in a much more un educated-sounding and tougher dialect than that of Tom’s speech.
The grammar that Huck uses in his language illustrates that he is not educated. Through his speech, it is evident that Huck is intelligent and seeks to influence the leaders of the day to consider the needs of all people. He is extremely truthful and honest in his speech, which is why he clearly expresses his inner feelings as well as the facts of the society that he lived (Twain 26). Huck is a freedom fighter. This can be seen through his struggle for freedom together with his friends such as Jim.
Furthermore, it is evident from the novel that Huck is moral. He embraces the use of moral law language which supersedes the government law. Through his act of protecting the black slave, Jim, Huck turns down the man-made law and thus feels guilty. Nonetheless, he refuses to let his friend down because his moral instinct assures him that he was doing the right thing. Huck uses the phrase, “right down good sociable time” to describe how all people should interact instead of allowing discrimination to dominate in their midst.
Huck is wise. In spite of the fact that he is not educated, Huck depicts a natural, intuitive understanding of the world. From the speech Huck shows his wisdom in several ways. Although ignorant in a number of ways, he is wise in relying on common sense, conscience and uses compassion to guide him (Twain 30). In essence, through the speech, the author attempts to draw conclusions regarding the right and wrong that are based on logic rather than the society’s morals and rules, which are usually hypocritical.
The narrator is courageous. This is depicted by his actions of saving others and condemning the deeds of the dictators as well as the whites. Deflecting away from the norms and values of the society to embrace other distinct but right values was really dangerous. However, due to his courage, Huck was able to correct the crooked deeds done in the society. Huck says, “human beings can be awful cruel to each other”, this statement describes how the vulnerable were treated by those perceived to be superior. Therefore, through the narrator’s language it is possible to tell his character.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (tom Sawyers Comrade). Champaign: Project Gutenberg, 1990. Print.