In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he takes an alternate route from the normal adventure cliche. On the surface as well as when searching for a deeper meaning, many adventure books are unfulfilling in that they posses no real message. It is not that an adventure book should be deemed poor in quality simply because it lacks depth, because that’s not really what an adventure book offers. Conventionally, the adventure book is a descriptive book in that it describes every leg of the protagonist’s journey.
The pivotal part to a truly fulfilling book is the deeper meaning, the stuff below the surface– to me, this is what separates The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and puts it head and shoulders above any book I have read in that genre. Twain offers up more than the conventional adventures– he personifies the characters to the point of showing their exact dialect through improper spelling and grammar. He displays the character’s emotions and thoughts, making it easy to relate to many of the things that the characters are thinking, in essence making a better book.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book saturated with morals and lessons. If you take the tale at face value the characters seem uneducated, but the depth to the book shows that there is a lesson being transmitted through each of the characters. The vivid and colorful characters make this book pleasing to read, a type of book that makes reading not a burden, but entertainment that rivals even video games. Twain takes Huckleberry Finn, on the surface your average character but because of the extent that Twain develops the characters, the character’s rises and pitfalls feel as though they are occurring to you.
Twain shows Huckleberry’s societal conformance, or lack thereof, many times in the book. Huckleberry is torn between good and bad, he has had a false idea that slavery is good engrained into his mind. Twain’s brilliance comes into play when he describes Huckleberry’s mentality as he weighs his beliefs, ultimately showing how a young boy can overcome a societal brain washing and do what is morally right. Twain makes a model for human living in Jim and Huckleberry.
Generally speaking, Jim, contrary to the way he is believed to behave by the society, takes in Huckleberry and plays the role of a father. Huckleberry symbolizes racial equality, how any one person can overcome the tainted status quo and think for himself. Tom on the other hand doesn’t posses any admirable traits aside from his imagination. Tom is in a sense the opposite of Huckleberry in terms of Huckleberry’s literal approach to things, while Tom maintains a more emotional and embellished approach.
A phrase that repeatedly popped into my mind while reading the book was “you never judge a book by its cover. ” On the cover, Huckleberry and Jim were not ideal people. Jim was a slave; a societal outcast. Huck was an adventuresome boy. Beneath both of their outward existences, they posses moral prowess and intellect. In perspective, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn gives you the basics that you will find in any adventure story. Had it just been a regular adventure story, it would not have enjoyed its current and longstanding strong popularity.
Twain gave us characters that were down to earth and easy to relate to. Although their schematics were a bit outlandish at times, they all possessed good morals. They were given good affable characteristics, so much so that they seemed tangible and realistic. This presents important lessons to use in life, such as not judging someone by their outward appearance. A person may look like they are disrespectful and malignant just because of the clothes they wear, their place in society, their dialect, or the way the do their hair.
These are all of course outward appearances and should not influence our judgment of someone but they almost always do. Huck and Jim are great examples that adhere to this doctrine well– Jim for instance is a slave, he almost seems foolish by his superstitions. Though through deeper inspection, Jim turns from a slave to a father figure, offering guidance to Huck and protecting him. Twain illustrates that below every ugly surface, there is usually a great personality to discover.