• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Huck finn hero or villian?

Extracts from this document...


Originally developed in Spain, one of the various styles of writing used by authors is that of the picaresque novel, which involves a picaro, or rogue hero, usually on a journey, and incorporates an episodic plot through various conflicts. Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (AHF), is a picaresque novel, marked by its episodic plot with a unifying theme of the river and the characterization of Huck Finn as a rogue hero. The novel's periodic plot is demonstrated by Huck's many adventures in separate episodes having independent conflicts. Gary Weiner, a former English teacher, states that "the picaresque novel is [...] episodic. Various scenes may have little to do with one another, and entire scenes may be removed without markedly altering the plot as a whole" (88). The conflicts that govern Huck's encounters with people like the dishonest and devious king and the duke, the Grangerford family, or Colonel Sherburn are very different and disconnected from one another. Whereas one episode involves two crooks, the duke and the king, the other involves a long-standing family feud between the Grangerford and Sheperdson families, and the third involves a Colonel defending his honor, with very little connection among the episodes. Tom Quirk, an author, editor, and English professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, also purports that "Huckleberry Finn is a highly episodic book, and the arrangement of episodes observes no incontestable narrative logic. ...read more.


Thus, Huck demonstrates the characteristic of being a rogue hero through his immoral actions and their justification. Rogue heroes travel 'through' various social strata; through the episodes that Huck experiences, Twain presents the many levels of antebellum Mississippi valley American social strata. Huck starts traveling with Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi river, and eventually befriends him, a lower class individual. Huck, after playing a cruel joke on Jim, apologizes to him. This is highly out of convention for the milieu of the time, as Jim is naught more than a slave, while Huck is a white boy: "It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger - but I done it, and I warn't sorry for it afterwards, neither" (AHF 98). This exemplifies one instance where Huck mingles with a person of a lower class. Additionally, Huck cares enough about Jim that he resolves himself to free his friend and suffer the consequences: "I studied a minute [...] then says to myself, 'All right. Then, I'll go to hell' [...] I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again [...]" (AHF 228). Huck sacrifices the most valuable part of himself, his soul, to stay with his lower class friend Jim. Huck also interacts with people of higher social classes: "Tom Sawyer, his aunt, the Widow Douglas, and Miss Watson are all drawn from the middle class. ...read more.


Similarly, when Jim is in danger of being discovered by raftsmen, he quickly lies to them and convinces them that his father has smallpox: "'[...] gentlemen, if you'll only pull ahead, and let me heave you the head-line, you won't have to come a-near the raft;'" the men immediately back off: "'Keep away, boy - keep to looard. [...] Your pap's got the smallpox and you know it precious well. [...] Do you want to spread it al over?'" (AHF 103). Huck lies again to protect himself as well as Jim. In addition, he uses his practical knowledge to support his story when he is cornered by Mrs. Judith Loftus. To see if Huck was really from a farm, as he had told her while in the guise of a girl, she asks him questions, such as "'Which side of a tree does the most moss grow on?'" to which Huck promptly and correctly answers "'North side;'" Huck's practical knowledge convinces her, as she responds, "'Well, I reckon you have lived in the country,'" and relieves Huck of momentary trouble (AHF 71). Quickly concocting stories and lies as well as utilizing practical knowledge characterize Huck's wit, fulfilling this criterion of the rogue hero. An episodic plot and Huck Finn as a rogue hero establish Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a picaresque novel. The plot consists of many episodes with separate and disconnected conflicts, all bound by the river. Huck Finn can be characterized as a rogue hero, thus fulfilling all the necessary criteria for the picaresque novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Mark Twain section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Mark Twain essays

  1. Chronological Order & Its Uses in Great Expectations and Huckleberry Finn.

    Both of the above examples establish characterization as well as thought communication as a use of chronological ordering.

  2. Critical Analysis of Huckleberry Fin

    is an almost exact repetition of the earlier cave scene with Tom and his gang; the language is softened, but the symbolized desire remains the same: This place was a tolerable long steep hill or ridge, about forty foot high.

  1. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

    The Duke and Dauphin con they way into tricking a very rich family that they are the long lost brothers, so they can steal the money. Since the father of the real brothers has recently died there is no real proof, except for Huck, that lets the family know they

  2. The runaway slave named Jim teaches an ignorant and innocent white boy named Huck ...

    You'd 'a' bendown dak in de woods widout any dinner, en gittin' mos' drownded, too; dat you would, honey. Chickens knows when it's qwyne to rain, en so do de birds, chile." Huck grows close to Jim and doesn't want Jim to be captured.

  1. The novel Huck Finn takes a strange approach to dealing with money.

    Huck Finn "can't stand" hypocrisy, greed and "sivilz'ation". Twain seems to suggest that the uncivilized way of life is better: he draws upon the ideas of Rousseau in his belief that civilization corrupts, rather than improves human beings. Huck has had very little contact with society, and Twain implies that

  2. Huckleberry Finn. Over the course of the novel, Huck finds a home and his ...

    In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the evil they are headed towards is slavery. As they travel down the river, the world around them becomes increasingly chaotic. In the antebellum South, Huck witnesses this disarray first hand when Colonel Sherburn shoots Boggs.

  1. Discuss and analyse the role and importance of the river in Twain’s The Adventures ...

    This moving of characteristics mirrors the movement of the raft slowly going downwards. The robbers on the steamboat is a reminder that the two characters are not safe from the problems that concerned then at home, prince ply cruelty, violence and the authority of any white adult.

  2. Literary analysis of "Huckleberry Finn" and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"

    man due to his race and color symbolizes the hypocrisy of southern society. Another example of society?s hypocrisy concerning civility and stiff ideals is toward the end of the novel, where Tom was wounded by a bullet and Jim declares that if the situation were reversed, Tom would presumably return to society and get a doctor to aid Jim.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work