Coming of Age Book AnalysisTheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain The Innocence of Huck• Tobegin the story, Huck explains how he and his friend Tom Sawyer have recentlycome into a large amount of money ($6,000 in Gold).
• Hucklives without parents as his mother has died and his father is the town drunk.• Kidsin the town idolize Huck for his disregard towards laws as well as hismischievous behavior.• Huckis taken in by a woman named Widow Douglas, who along with her sister, MissWatson, intend on civilizing Huck.
• Beforebeing taken in by Widow Douglas, Huck had no formal education.Huckstruggles at first with having to act civilized and leaves the Widow to roamfree. After meeting with Tom, who explains to Huck that if he wants to join hisnew robber gang he has to return to the Widow and remain civilized, Huckreturns to the Widow reluctantly.• Onenight Huck sneaks out of the house to join Tom’s gang. In order to join thegang, they had to sign an oath. One requirement of the oath was if any of theboys told secrets about the gang, they had to kill their family.• Dueto the fact that Huck’s father could rarely be located, Huck offered MissWatson because he wasn’t fond of her enforcing rules upon him.
• Aftera month of playing in the gang, all the boys resigned because they hadn’tkilled or robbed anyone.• Afternoticing footprints in the snow outside, Huck is worried that his father hasreturned to find him.• Thatnight Huck finds his father, Pap, waiting for him in his bedroom.Pap demandsHuck’s money but Huck claims he doesn’t have it because he has sold it to JudgeThatcher. Pap then sues Judge Thatcher for the money and in a drunken rage,kidnaps Huck and takes him to a cabin across the river. This is where Huck’sadventure begins. Conflict• IntrapersonalConflict – Conflict within yourself• InterpersonalConflict – Conflict between two people or agroup Intrapersonal Conflict• Throughoutthe story, Huck repeatedly experiences internal conflict as the topics varyfrom religion, to race, and the views of society.v Huck first experiences some internal conflictwhen Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson try and instill Christian valuesin Huck.
The Widow is a more relaxed Christian while Miss Watson explains toHuck that if he does not follow every Christian rule precisely, he will end upgoing to hell. v While helping Miss Watsons slave, Jim, escape;Huck is very conflicted as to whether he should help Jim or not. He understandsthat if he helps Jim runaway, society would ridicule him and because of thehard Christian values taught by Miss Watson, he believed he would go to hellfor it. In chapter 31, Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson that explains thatJim, who has been captured, is just below Pikesville and she can get him backif she pays the reward. After thinking with himself, Huck realizes that hecannot give Jim up because Jim has only been kind to Huck and has helped himthroughout the trip. After this self-thought Huck tears up the paper andproclaims, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”. Chapter 31, pg. 217 whichis one of the main quotes regarding the conflict within Huck.
Later on Huck isalso very surprised when Tom Sawyer helps Jim escape as he believes Tom isrisking his good name and reputation to help out someone considered to have novalue. “Well,one thing was dead sure, and that was that Tom Sawyer was in earnest, and wasactuly going to help steal that n***** out of slavery. That was the thing thatwas too many for me. Here was a boy that was respectable and well brung up; andhad a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; and he wasbright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, butkind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling,than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and his family ashame, before everybody. I couldn’t understand it no way at all. It wasoutrageous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell him so; and so be his truefriend, and let him quit the thing right where he was and save himself.
“Chapter 34, pg. 235/236• Thisquote really expresses the conflict going on inside of Huck as he is in theprocess of helping Jim escape but at the same time questions why his friend ishelping, and risking himself to the scrutiny that could come along with it. • InHuck’s society it is seen as crime to help slaves escape, and that is why hecontinues to struggle with helping Jim runaway; but in the end Huck’s internalvalues ultimately take over as he knows that helping Jim escape is the rightthing to do. Interpersonal ConflictHuck’s Fatherpap• Alot of Huck’s early independence has to do with his father never being aroundhis mother has passed away to take care of him as he was wandering around towngetting drunk.• Huckdoesn’t have a sense of being civilized before the Widow and Miss Watson takehim in because he had no authority figure in his life.v After learning of Huck’s fortune, Pap returnsto town demanding that Huck give the money all to him.
During the dispute Papalso reprimands Huck for attending school saying “You’re educated, too, theysay—can read and write. You think you’re better’n your father, now, don’t you,because he can’t? i’ll take it out of you.” Chapter 5, pg. 25 Because of this,Huck continues to attend school just to anger his father. After an argument with the Widow, Pap kidnaps Huck and takeshim to a cabin up river. In chapter 6, Huck explains that the Widow sent a manto find him but the man was unsuccessful in his attempt to get Huck. “Thewidow she found out where I was by and by, and she sent a man over to try toget hold of me; but pap drove him off with the gun…” Chapter 6, pg.
26• Beforeleaving the cabin to go to town each day, Pap locks Huck in the cabin and sometimesties him up. After returning home, drunk, Pap beats Huck before passing out.After Pap’s beatings become too severe Huck decides to escape.
After making ahole in the cabin wall, Huck fills a raft he found with supplies from the cabinand shoots a hog to spread his blood across the cabin making it look like hewas murdered. Huck then ventures down river to nearby Jackson Island. OnJackson Island Huck finds a runaway slave owned by Miss Watson named Jim.• Inchapter 9, Jim and Huck discover the dead body of a man that has been shot in ahouse floating by Jackson Island after severe flooding. The reader later learnsthat the body is Pap’s. Jim did not let Huck see the face of the dead manbecause he knew it was Huck’s father.
RelationshipsHuck and Jim• Huck’sfirst encounter with Jim is when Huck sneaks out to meet Tom Sawyer at night.Tom wants to tie a sleeping Jim to a tree but Huck suggests that they moveJim’s hat instead.• Therelationship between Huck and Jim truly begins when they meet on JacksonIsland. When Jim discovers the body of Huck’s father Pap, he elects not to letHuck see it and does not tell him that it is his father, as he knows it woulddeeply upset Huck.
• Afterescaping from a ship wreckage, Huck and Jim encounter a dense fog whichseparates them from each other. After reuniting Huck tries to prank Jim bysaying that it was all a dream and that they weren’t separated. Jim, whodoesn’t fall for the trick, is very upset that Huck would try something likethat as he was extremely worried that he had lost Huck forever. This confessioncauses Huck to feel deeply ashamed for pulling the prank as Jim would doanything for Huck.
Huck then apologizes to Jim. As they near shore, Huckbecomes distraught with the fact that he is helping a slave escape andconsiders telling authorities. Once onshore, Huck instead covers for Jim whenhe encounters people looking for a runaway slave.• Aftertwo con men that Jim and Huck have met look to sell Jim for a $40 reward, Huckwrites the letter to Miss Watson due to his conscience still being unable tocome to grips that he is helping a slave. Huck then decides between two things:whether he will go to heaven for his actions, or to hell. Huck ultimatelydecides to go to hell as he tears up the letter and decides to help Jim. Afterbeing mistaken for Tom Sawyer by Tom’s Aunt, Huck meets up with Tom andexplains that Jim has been captured. Tom agrees to help Huck break him out.
After an elaborate and useless plan to free Jim, Tom is shotas they make their way to the raft. Jim proves his kindness and loyalty as herefuses to leave without Tom seeing a doctor first. After Tom explains that himand Huck came up with the plan to free Jim, he reveals that Jim has been a freeman this whole time because Miss Watson has died and in her will she gives Jimhis freedom. Huck’s development• Huck’smain development comes in chapter 31 as he makes the decision to disregardsociety and suffer the consequence of going to hell for saving Jim. The issueof race and slavery cause Huck to feel guilty throughout the story as helpingpeople of color was considered an embarrassment to you and your family. Huckaccepts his fate as he decides to help Jim even though he is a slave and a manof color. This action is considered heroic in today’s time but back in the1800’s when this book was written, slavery and racial injustices wereacceptable and people who helped out people of different ethnicities were oftenfrowned upon.