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Huckleberry Finn Essay

2905 words - 12 pages

In Mark Twain’s novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, he portrays Finn as a young boy who grew up along the Mississippi River without a mother and most often without a father. The following paper will discuss how Finn adapts to family life with the Widow Douglas and Ms. Watson as they attempt to make him a civilized young man and it will also discuss how he feels about religion, slavery and freedom.

In the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri in the mid 1800’s, Mark Twain reintroduces us to a young boy named Huckleberry Finn. Finn’s mother was deceased and he had a father whom he called Pap. Finn was raised without any rules or ...view middle of the document...

When the King and Duke sold Jim back into slavery they are depicted as the worst of all the male role models for Finn. The fact that Jim is a slave both Kaye and Twain agree that he cannot be portrayed as a competent man or a whole man. Ironically, Twain portrays Jim as the closest thing to a positive father figure for Finn (Kaye, 1999).

Finn was then taken in by the Widow Douglas and her sister Ms. Watson. They were two religious sisters who tried to change Finn into a civilized boy with manners. Finn doesn’t really like living with the widow and her sister but he tries to adjust. Not going to school now was not an option for Finn but a requirement of the Widow Douglas and Ms. Watson. After dinner, Ms. Watson would teach Finn a little more on how to spell. Finn struggled with the confines of clothes and religion because he never had to wear clean clothes every day and he didn’t have to go to church on Sundays. He grew tired of the confinement and ran away but Sawyer found him and convinced him to go back; and he did.
The move from being homeless to civilize and a part of a family was becoming real to Finn. His natural order of things was becoming non-existent in this new world. He was now on a daily schedule for school and dinner and was expected to be on time for both. Although he didn’t like going to church, he was expected to attend. The parental guidance that Finn missed in his younger years was now being provided by the Widow Douglas and her sister Ms. Watson.
As part of his conversion to becoming a respectable young boy, the Widow Douglas and her sister Ms. Watson tried to instill in Finn the importance of religion and prayer. Finn couldn’t understand why the meals had to be prayed over before they ate. Finn also didn’t see the need to know about Moses and the burning bush. Especially after an explanation from the Widow that Moses was dead. Anspaughs’ research argues that Twain depicts Finn here as being one with Moses and with Christ believing at one time they were one in the same (Anspaugh, 1994 p.221). Twain takes this opportunity to mock religion because Finn is again, rejecting any religious teachings, especially from someone who has been dead for so long. Finn is not claiming to be like either of them.
On another occasion after dinner, Finn lost interest in what Ms. Watson was speaking about but when she started talking about the “the good place”, Finn wanted to know if Ms. Watson thought that Tom Sawyer would go there. Ms. Watson replied that she didn’t think Tom Sawyer would go to the good place. Finn liked the sound of that because he wanted Sawyer to go with him to the other place (Twain, 1982). The fact that hell sounded better to Finn than heaven when being scolded by Ms. Watson proves that Finn does not believe in the bible or in God because to him, it doesn’t work when you pray for what you want and you do not receive it (Twain, 1982).
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