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Huckelberry Finn - Chapter 1 Commentary.

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Introduction

HUCKELBERRY FINN Chapter 1 Commentary "There were things he stretched, but mainly he told the truth." Straight away Twain shows us the irony and hypocrisy of American society through the eyes of the young and innocent Huck. For Twain's story to come out as he has intended the voice of the narrator is a crucial part. Twain has deliberately chosen a 13-year-old boy as the first person narrator to give the reader a greater sense of belief and trust which Huck quickly gains through his innocence. A young boy such as Huck would be less influenced by the world around him and, therefore, he will be telling the story straight from the heart and what he truly believes in. His vision isn't clouded by the 'sivilised' society, which Twain perhaps purposely uses to symbolise the way in which American society attempts to place people into a certain stereotype. ...read more.

Middle

All Huck wants is 'to go somewhere' and he 'warn't particular'. He is so desperate to get away from the society that is constricting him that Huck wishes he was at the 'bad place'. Twain perhaps uses Miss Watson's criticism of Tom Sawyer going to the good place 'not by a considerable light' as a way to emphasize Huck's fear of being lonely. Huck is very glad at this thought because he wants 'Tom and [him] to be together'. Perhaps one of Twain's greatest concerns about America's society is its evident hypocrisy. This is greatly exemplified by the widow's ban on smoking because it was a 'mean practice and wasn't clean' while she herself 'took snuff too'. As she has authority others are willing to ignore her faults and 'of course that was all right, because she done it herself', whereas Huck is compelled to follow the rules, only because he has not yet been 'sivilised'. ...read more.

Conclusion

'I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die', all add to the lonely mood that Huck is feeling at the time and his wish that '[he] had some company'. Through Huck Twain is also able to express his views of racism in American society at the time. The use of the word 'nigger' shows the acceptance of the term. Huck's observation that 'things go better' when 'mixed up' seems to refer to the racial segregation. Twain is perhaps portraying his view that society would be a better place if we all 'mix up' and 'swap around'. As the society in which Huck is being bought up in slowly attempts to 'sivilise' him, Huck's character and values seem to grow stronger. As he fights against the society that is attempting to take away his individualism, Huck is determined to stay true to himself and tell the truth, with as little 'stretches' as possible. ...read more.

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