Analysis of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Uppgiften var att läsa en klassiker och analysera boken samt argumentera för någon tes. I denna text var tesen att boken Huckleberry Finn av Mark Twain inte är en lämplig bok för barn att läsa.

Betyg:  MVG-

Analysis of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn is not suitable for children but is rather a book for adults.

At first you may think Huckleberry Finn is a book for children full of adventures and fun pranks; however, it’s a quite serious book with a lot of dreadful events and serious issues that are not appropriate for children. Huckleberry Finn does not live in the best of all possible worlds.

The first reason why the book isn’t suitable for children is because it contains a lot of violence and horrible behavior. Huck is kidnapped by his father, a drunkard, who usually beats him. One gets a picture of drunkenness and child beating in the story. The father “pap” wants to get ahold of Huck’s money and doesn’t like that Huck is given education. It shows greed, jealousy, and bad parenting. One night when pap is drunk, he even tries to kill Huck. Not only that Huck himself almost gets killed, he also encounters murder many times throughout the book. For example, he sees a dead naked man, shot in the back in a floating house. Another time when he enters a wreck, aground, in the middle of the night, he witnesses two men who are threatening to kill a man, who had killed another man, with a gun. In the end, Huck and Jim took the men’s raft and left them there as the wreck breaks and the men drown.  In addition to the previous, after Jim and Huck’s raft was hit by a steamboat in the middle of the night, Huck came to the Grangerfords’. They have a feud with the Shepherdsons’. There Huck witnesses one of the Grangerfords’ sons Buck, about Huck’s age, and a cousin who are cold blooded shot to death by adult men. Huck also sees the killing of a drunkard who insults a colonel. Furthermore, Huck witnesses when the duke and the king are tarred and feathered due to their scams. All this violence isn’t suitable for a children’s book. It shows a dark, ugly world full of violence and danger. They also use a coarse language for instance the word “nigger” frequently in the book.

Apart from the violence, Huck isn’t a very good influence for children. Huck doesn’t like school or religion; he wants to be free and play all days. Their games aren’t that friendly either. Huck and his friends think they are a band of robbers and believe it’s honorable to steal and kill. They have serious rules for example: they have to write their names in blood to join the band; if someone tells their secrets they will cut his throat, “Some thought it would be good to kill the families of boys that told the secrets” (p.12). Smoking and stealing are other bad qualities of his, and he knows how to handle a real rifle. He plays evil pranks on people and has a bad habit of lying and does it frequently, too. For instance, he changes his name several times, once he dresses like a girl and calls himself Sarah William; however, when he is caught being a boy he changes his name to George Peters. When he comes to the Grangerfords’, he says his name is George Jackson. Even though Huck behaves badly, he is still the hero in the book and his behavior could encourage children to do the same. One can see that Huck isn’t a good idol for young children to have.

In addition, the book is also about serious issues in society. Throughout this book Mark Twain criticizes society with satire, moreover; he uses the naive and uneducated character Huckleberry Finn to be able to reflect upon society. In the book one can get the impression that it’s morally right to break laws and those who go to church are hypocrites. When you read the book disobedience appears to be something good. Intellectual questions like what is right and what is wrong, human’s worth, attitudes, slavery, and racism are other issues the book reflects upon. These adult themes are often too difficult for children to understand.

Black people are treated as property in the book and less worthy; even Huck has accepted the opinion of the society and thinks so himself. Thus, Huck reflects whether or not he should turn in Jim who is a runaway slave but also his friend. “Conscience says to me, ”What had poor Miss Watson done to you, that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word?…”(p.129). Another example how they dehumanize black people one can understand from the quote, “Well, if ever I struck anything like it, I’m a nigger…” (p.214); in this quote they refer to nigger as something bad.

Huck escapes from his father who treats him bad, and people think it is right of Huck to do so. Jim, however, who is a black man, runs away because he risks being sent to a plantation far away from his own family which from society’s point of view was wrong of Jim to do in those days. These parallel escapes show the different views and are clever because it makes people wonder why one escape is okay but not the other.

In conclusion, the book involves adult themes like satire and criticism of society. Furthermore, it contains a lot of violence, and Huck himself isn’t the best influence for children. Therefore, the book is more suitable for an older audience unless you want to harden them. If a child reads it, he will get a picture of a hard, brutal, and evil world.