Romanticism In Huck Finn

Huckleberry Finn, a novel written by Mark Twain, has been one of the most controversial novels in American Literature. Throughout Huckleberry Finn there are many instances that show Huckleberry’s development throughout the story and his changes from a boy who doesn’t give a damn to a respectable young man. Huckleberry Finn follows the life of Huckleberry Finn, a young boy living with his father, Pap. Huckleberry lives on the outskirts of society and doesn’t have much contact with it.

Huckleberry meets Jim who has escaped from an abusive master, Miss Watson. Huckleberry decides to help Jim escape by faking his death and letting him go free on a raft that Huckleberry built. The two then begin their journey down the Mississippi River together. Huckleberry learns many things about life throughout the story, but one main theme of Huckleberry Finn is Romanticism. Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn frequently mentions Romanticist ideas.

The major romanticist ideas are found in Huckleberry’s progression as a character throughout the story line because he starts out as the non-romanticized, “non-civilized” Huckleberry Finn and ends up evolving into a Romantic Hero. Huckleberry starts out as an innocent young boy without much contact with society at all. Huckleberry’s father Pap is “worthless”, Huckleberry lives on the outskirts of society, and his only companion (Jim) becomes like family to him.

Huckleberry has never had any experience with love or romance because he is innocent to it; however his innocence allows him to see the world more clearly than many other characters in the story. Huckleberry’s innocence makes him care less about what society thinks of him and more about doing what he believes is right despite the consequences that may arise from not conforming to society’s beliefs. Huckleberry displays Romanticist thoughts when he says “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”- Huckleberry is ready to suffer the consequences of his actions despite what society thinks about his choice.

Huckleberry doesn’t care if society deems it a bad decision because Huckleberry decides that this is the way things should be done and no one else can have a say in it. Huckleberry also spends time exploring nature and being outdoors away from civilization which is where Huckleberry gains all of his romanticized experiences from. Huckleberry sees things for how they really are without social influence clouding his judgement so Huckleberry has a better perception on life than many others have.

One major Romanticist incident in Huckleberry Finn is Huckleberry’s adventure when he decides to explore the cave. Huckleberry goes with Tom Sawyer, Joe Harper, the Dauphin, and Huckleberry’s companion Jim to explore a cave they have discovered. Huckleberry explores deeper into the cave than others before him because Huckleberry wants to “beg” his father’s spirit for forgiveness- Huckleberry wants closure for his own guilt that has been weighing on him after it is discovered that Huckleberry helped Jim escape from his previous master Miss Watson.

Huckleberry feels guilty about helping Jim escape because at this time in history it was against the law to help runaway slaves escape which usually led to severe punishment or death for helping them. Huckleberry’s trip to the cave is Huckleberry’s way of coping with his guilt about breaking the law and giving in to his human conscience rather than ignoring it like society taught Huckleberry.

Huckleberry says “It got dark, and creepy”, Huckleberry starts experiencing feelings that are common during a terrifying experience or situation which shows Huckleberry’s innocence in romanticism because Huckleberry isn’t afraid to express what he feels even if it is considered socially unacceptable for boys his age to be so open. While inside Huckleberry’s experiences another Romanticist incident when Jim joins him on the ledge within the cave and tells Huckleberries ghost story- Huckleberry doesn go into detail about what happened inside the cave because Huckleberry knows that Jim is making up a story to help Huckleberry overcome his fear.

Huckleberry’s refusal to share how he really felt about what happened inside the cave shows Huckleberry’s loyalty as a friend and Huckleberry’s trust in Jim- Huckleberry doesn’t care if society thinks less of him for not sharing his experience, Huckleberry cares more about maintaining their friendship than letting society interfere with it. Romanticism also plays a key role in Hucks’ and Jims’ relationship and growth as characters throughout the story. The first time we see Hucks and Jim develop romantic feelings for each other is on an island they spend time together on before attempting to run away from Mississippi.

Hucks and Jim spend years on this island together which helps Hucks learn more about Jim’s life before slavery- Hucks realizes that they aren’t all that different even though Hucks was raised to believe he is better than Jim. Hucks says “It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. ” Huck learns how difficult it is for Jim to accept his current condition as a slave after Huckleberry hears Jim praying for freedom.

Huffer sees that there isn’t anything he can do to help free Jim so instead Hucker decides to befriend him by learning his language, teaching himself how to read, and helping Jim teach Hucks how to read. Huckleberry does these things because Huckleberry wants to be able to communicate with Jim about his life before Hucks’ learns how to read so Hucks’ can learn more about who Jim really is as a person rather than what society views him as- Huffer wants to build an honest friendship without any lies or secrets between them before Hucker even considers the possibility of freeing Jim.

When Huck and Jim finally make their escape from Mississippi Huck says “And I bet you my hat (which was the first property I achieved) we wouldn’t stay in one place long enough for ’em to find us. We would take steamboats just as far as they would take us, and go ahead. ” Huckleberrys’ thought of Hucks himself as nothing more than an object shows Huckleberry’s Romanticist views because Hucker considers Hucks just a hat that represents Hucks’ freedom but Hucket’s motivation for getting it back is that Huckleberry can use the money he earns from selling it to help Jim buy his family.

Huck who has always tried to fit into society decides not to turn Jim in when Huck sees the rewards poster for Jim because Huck realizes that if they turned Jim in Huck would be doing exactly what society expects him to which goes against Hucks general ideology about being honest with people you form friendships with. When Hickey catches up with them on Jackson Island Hucky says “I was sorry, too… orry enough to cry, almost. Hucky Huckleberry Finn would a been worth more to old Miss Watson dead than alive… But Jim’s best friend was hisself, and nothing could change that. ” Hucks true motivation for not turning Jim in is because Huckleberry sees Jim as a part of Hucks’ family and Hucks wants a better life for Hucks’ whole family- not just Hucks’.

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