Archetypes play an important role in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain uses archetypal characters and situations to explore the issue of slavery and racism in America. The main character, Huck Finn, is an archetype of the innocent child. He is ignorant of the evils of slavery and racism and doesn’t understand why people are treated so differently. He befriends a runaway slave, Jim, and helps him escape to freedom.
This friendship challenges Huck’s preconceptions about race and slavery. Along the way, Huck and Jim encounter a number of other archetypal characters, including the evil slave owner, the helpful stranger, and the wicked stepfather. Each of these characters helps to further Twain’s exploration of the theme of slavery and racism in America.
In Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the archetypes of the Unwilling Hero, the Shape Shifter, and Haven vs. Wilderness are utilized to demonstrate that Huck Finn and Jim may find liberation along every stretch of the Mississippi River. Because he considers things through before doing them, even though they will benefit everyone, Huck is seen as an unwilling hero.
He does not want the credit and is often self-deprecating. For example, when Huck Finn fakes his own death to escape from Pap, he thinks to himself, “It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, because it was like whispering in church” (Twain 63).
The shape shifter archetype can be seen in Jim. He changes his appearance depending on who he is around. When he is with white people, he acts like a subservient slave. However, around other blacks, he is much more confident and outspoken. The final archetype, haven vs. wilderness, is represented by the river.
He is afraid to take courageous actions. Because they are constantly lying about their identities and fooling everyone, the King and Duke exhibit the archetype of the shape shifter. The Mississippi represents the characters’ “haven,” while Huck and Jim’s home reflects their “wilderness.”
The characters in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be seen as archetypes. Huck Finn embodies the archetype of the trickster, as he is always playing pranks and making mischief. Jim represents the archetype of the faithful companion, as he is always there for Huck when he needs him. The Widow Douglas and Miss Watson represent the archetypes of the mother figure, as they are always taking care of Huck and trying to teach him manners.
Pap Finn embodies the archetype of the evil father, as he is abusive and neglectful towards Huck. The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons represent the archetypes of feuding families, as they are constantly fighting with each other. The duke and king show the archetype of conmen, as they are always trying to scam people. The Mississippi River represents the archetype of the journey, as it is the path that Huck and Jim take to freedom.
Huck Finn is a negative hero who represents an archetype. Huck is hesitant to do the right thing and feels guilty about everything he does. Huck’s difficulties nearly caused him and Jim to lose their opportunity for freedom, but he always found his nerve and was driven to fight for what he believed in.
The happy ending for Huck Finn and Jim was very rewarding, and showed that even an unwilling hero can triumph in the end.
Tom Sawyer is the archetype of the mischievous kid. He’s always getting into trouble, and he never seems to learn his lesson. Even though he gets Huck into a lot of trouble, he still remains Huck’s best friend. The relationship between Tom and Huck is one of the most important aspects of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Tom’s idea to “tie Jim to a tree for fun” (page 5) after spooking him went too far for Huck, who knew it wasn’t right. This displays that Huck is an unwilling hero as he constantly has to battle with his conscience whether something is right or wrong, even if it goes against what society deems correct.
The second time Huck went against Tom’s plan and let Jim go free, even though it put him in danger. This act of heroism leads to Huck’s development as a character because it helped Huck realize that slavery is wrong. The fact that Huck was able to see the error in his ways and do what was right, despite peer pressure from Tom, shows us that he is growing as a person.
The final instance where we see Huck’s heroic qualities is when he decides to return Jim to his family, even though it means getting in trouble with the law. This decision goes against everything society has taught Huck about slavery, but he knows it is the right thing to do. Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we see Huck’s growth as a character through his acts of heroism. Huck starts out as an unwilling hero, but by the end of the novel, he has become a true hero.
Mark Twain uses archetypes throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to show us the growth of Huck as a character. The first archetype that we see is the Unwilling Hero. The second archetype is the Mentor, which we see in Huck’s relationship with Jim.
The third archetype is the Transformation, which occurs when Huck realizes that slavery is wrong and decides to help Jim escape. The final archetype is the Hero’s Journey, which Huck goes on throughout the novel. These archetypes work together to show us how Huck grows as a person and becomes a true hero by the end of the novel.
When Jim and Huck were heading down the river, they passed a fellow who said, “I won’t allow any runaway slaves to get by me if I can help it.” (page 91). Huck then attempted to advocate for himself.
Twain uses this as an example of Huck’s journey because he is starting to see that what society tells him is right may not actually be right. Huck is seeing that Jim is a human just like him and deserves to be free. The setting also plays a big role in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The river represents freedom and the ability to start over. The land represents society and all of its rules. As Huck and Jim travel down the river they are moving further away from society and all of its expectations.
The farther they get from land, the more free they feel. This is shown when Huck says “I reckon I wasn’t ever meaner than what I was then. Because it looks to me like all anybody ever thinks about is just to look out for themselves. The good way ain’t to do that, the best way is to help other people.” (page 119). Huck is starting to see that maybe being good doesn’t mean doing what everyone else says is right. Maybe being good means helping others, even if it goes against what society tells you.
The character of Jim also represents an archetype in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is the wise old man who helps guide Huck down the river. He teaches Huck about life and how to be a good person. Jim is also a symbol of hope for Huck. He represents the possibility of a better life for Huck. Without Jim, Huck would still be stuck on the land where he was treated poorly and was not free. Jim represents the idea that Huck can have a better life if he just keeps moving down the river.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel full of archetypes. The characters, setting, and plot all represent different archetypes that help to tell the story of Huck’s journey down the river. The archetypes help to illustrate the themes of the novel and provide deeper meaning to the story.