Huckleberry Finn Character Analysis Essay

Huckleberry Finn was the young son of a shiftless father and a pious mother. He ran away from his adopted family on Jackson’s Island, where he grew up with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Huckleberry is known for his ‘lit’l har’, or little hair, as well as being an avid reader. Huckleberry is always checking the newspapers for river news, so he can find out where towns are being held up by bandits. Huckleberry’s best friend was Tom Sawyer, with whom he went rafting down the Mississippi River many times in search of adventure.

Huckleberry Finn is a twelve-year-old boy who lived on Jackson’s Island near St. Petersburg, Missouri at the beginning of Huckleberry Finn . Huckleberry lives with his father and his younger half brother, Sid. Huckleberry also has two sisters; one that everyone thinks is dead (Sarah) and another sister who died when she was only six (Ruth). Huck didn’t get along well with his stepmom or dad because they were constantly trying to ‘sivilize’ him. Huckleberry’s dad was an alcoholic and often came home drunk, which would upset Huckleberry’s religious mother.

Huckleberry loved his mom but didn’t understand why she couldn’t be more like the Widow Douglas, who was so kind to Huckleberry. Huckleberry eventually ran away from home because he knew that his father would beat him if he stayed any longer. He went down to Jackson’s Island, where he lived with Jim and his wife for a while. One day Huck decided to go back and visit the Widow Douglas in town and told her everything about what had happened on Jackson’s Island (he used a fake name).

The Widow Douglas then tookuckleberry back into her house and Huckleberry stayed with them for a while. Huckleberry was being mistreated by his family so Huckleberry decided to run away again. He went to Jackson’s Island once more and lived there until he discovered that the town was planning on destroying the island in order to build a new railroad bridge across the Mississippi River. Huckleberry figured out how he can help save the island, so Huckleberry ran off again but this time, Huckleberry ran away on a raft down the Mississippi River.

HUCKLEBERRY FINN: The protagonist of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.   Huck is an anti-hero who espouses common sense throughout much of the novel, even when his community disapproves. Huckleberry learns many lessons throughout his journey down the Mississippi, including learning about friendship and love. Huckleberry is said to be based on Twain’s childhood friend Tom Blankenship, who died of pneumonia at age 17 (suggesting Huckleberry will die as well). Huck also uses the alias “Tom Sawyer” several times during his adventures, which some critics argue is a reference to Huckleberry Finn’s author Mark Twain.

TOM SAWYER: Huckleberry Finn’s best friend. He is described as charming and dashing by most characters in Huckleberry Finn. He has an adventurous spirit and often wants Huckleberry to accompany him on these adventures – much like Huckleberry wants Tom to come with him on Huckleberry’s rafting adventure. Tom is also said to be based on Huckleberry’s real-life best friend Tom Blankenship, who died of pneumonia at age 17 (suggesting Huckleberry will die as well).

MARCUS: Huckleberry Finn and Jim’s only known friend when Huckleberry and Jim first meet. While Huckleberry was sleeping in a tree after running away from home, it began to storm and Huckleberry fell out of the tree and onto Marcus’ boat. When Huckleberry woke up he asked for his help but Marcus told Huck that he already knew about the plan to destroy Jackson Island so Huckeby had no choice but to join him on his journey down the Mississippi River. Huckleberry begins to trust Marcus, even though Huckeby still has his suspicions about him. Huckleberry eventually figures out that Marcus was the one who told the townspeople of St. Petersburg about Huckleberry’s plan on Jackson Island, which led to Huckleberry having to run away again (this time on a raft with Jim).

MARIA: Formerly Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer’s loving mother (before she died), now Hucks’s guardian angel following her death in childbirth. Maria is first referred to as “Sally Hawkins” by Huck towards the end of Chapter 2; however, throughout the rest of Huckleberry Finn, she is referred to as “Maria.” Some critics believe that Huckleberry Finn was changed to Huckeby Finn because Huckleberry’s name had become too common and that Twain wanted Huckeby to be the most “distinguished” Huckleberry.

THE WIDOW DOUGLAS: The first couple of chapters establish the Widow Douglas as a benevolent, if overbearing, a woman who wants Huck to be educated and not lie or steal. She tries to civilize him by giving him new clothes and teaching him Bible verses. However, Huck is rebellious toward her kindness because he wants only a home with a loving mother – which she cannot provide after Maria died in childbirth, so Huckleberry ran away from her house soon after his arrival there. He runs away again when he thinks she is forcing him to become civilized. Huckleberry only returns when he thinks the Widow is dying and confesses his fear of being caught as a fugitive slave (which doesn’t happen). Huckeby still lives with her at the end of Huckleberry Finn . She agrees that Huck should be given his inheritance from his father – which includes “sivilization” money, but Huckleberry ends up refusing the money because Huckleberry wants to avoid becoming civilized.

JIM: Hucks’s closest companion throughout most of Huckleberry Finn , Jim is an escaped slave who has endured multiple trials and tribulations in order to achieve freedom – including once being separated from members of his family during a botched escape attempt, and another time when his wife was sold to a trader and Huckleberry had to sell Jim’s only daughter. Hucks helps Jim gain freedom by pretending Huckeby is an emancipated slave so Huckleberry can escape with him down the river on Hucks’s raft without being caught (as Huck would be arrested for helping a runaway slave if he didn’t claim emancipation).

FATHER: Huckleberry Finn ‘s father who dies when Huckleberry is very young; often compared to Hucks in that they both enjoy fishing and living similarly simple lives. The novel opens with Huck writing in his autobiography: “You will not ever know who I am, it don’t make no difference whether you do or not,” which some critics suggest Huckleberry makes in reference to his father, as Huckeby Hucks’ whereabouts are unknown. At the beginning of Huckleberry Finn , Hucks repeatedly claims that he will not reveal his identity to those who ask about Hucks’ past or family – though Huck often fears that they might find out from other people who know Huckeby.

NARRATOR: Huckleberry Finn is an autobiography narrated by a middle-aged Hucks, a year after Huck ran away from Ms. Watson’s home where she was raising him after Huck’s father died and before she moved west with Huck and his brothers. It opens with Hucks introducing himself as “Tom Sawyer’s comrade” – even though Twain originally wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Hucks’ story. Huckeby Hucks is called “the non-moral hero” of Huckleberry Finn because Huckeby does not want to change his life, only wants the freedom to do whatever he likes – including taking risks and acting impulsively.

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