“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is a journey novel (as mentioned in the previous post) mainly about Huck Finn, accompanied by an escaped slave named Jim, and their adventures along the Mississippi River. Some readers may enjoy the book’s satire, the shenanigans, or schemes. However, there’s also a serious side to the book, involving issues of race and values. So basically (lame analogy alert), the book is a bowl of fun/humorous adventure with a scoop of serious.
Since the book takes place around the mid 1800’s, some of the language is quite different from the language used today, which may be a nuisance for some readers. The story is told from Huck’s point of view in southern dialect, and he often uses slang or terms that aren’t really used currently, and as expected, Jim, the slave, has a strong African American dialect. The book also includes quite a few racial slurs or terms, but I think the author included it in order to create the atmosphere of racial prejudice. Also, for the characters in the book, referring to Jim and slaves in general in those terms was just normal. When it comes to the language in the book, you get used to it. Plus, it wouldn’t be the same if the different dialects weren’t included.
I liked this book because of Huck’s character development and the way in which he tells the story. Throughout the story, Huck debates whether or not he’s doing the right thing by not turning Jim in. It’s interesting to see how from a modern perspective, it’s really obvious what the right thing to do is, but in Huck’s society, those same things could be considered a sin or unlawful, so for Huck it’s not so obvious. Also, the story is definitely more interesting since it’s told from Huck’s unique point of view.
At times I found Huck’s personality hard to pinpoint, since I think maybe he had a soft or even naive personality, since he often did things or was involved in something that opposed his belief or opinion. For example, in the end of the book, when Jim gets captured, Huck runs into Tom Sawyer and the two agree to break Jim out of confinement. Huck’s intentions are to help Jim, since he realized no matter if he’s a slave or not, Jim has been very caring and good-natured during their travels together. On the other hand, Tom Sawyer’s intention is to make Jim’s escape a “spectacular” break out and do it just like how it’s done in the stories he’s read. Tom goes to ridiculous lengths to exaggerate and dramatize every aspect of the break out simply for entertainment and “reputation”, even when it could’ve been quite simple. So I don’t get why Huck agrees, or at least he might’ve agreed initially, but then later he could’ve put his foot down and take a stand for the real purpose of helping Jim.
That brings up another point, the book’s ending. I found the ending to be a bit too silly, probably because I was expecting it to be a bit like “To Kill a Mockingbird” where the story is relatively light throughout and then takes a serious turn at the end. So I was expecting the same for this novel, but it didn’t turn out like that. I kind of feel it turned into a Tom Sawyer type of story, rather than staying as a Huckleberry Finn story.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading this book, but was just a little disappointed with the ending. However, I don’t think the ending is necessarily a deal breaker for those who have read it or are interested in reading the book.