In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there lies an epic journey embarked upon by a child named Huck Finn and an illiterate slave named Jim. Both characters are dynamic, so they are constantly changing in either their way of thought or accessible skills. The author, Mark Twain, depicts Huck Finn as a hero that would typically only rely on himself, follow his intuition, and generally care only for what interests him. These are the qualities of an independent self-centered, and overall immature character.
These are the qualities of a romantic hero. Of course Huck Finn begins immature in nature, but he obviously encounters situations in the novel that do indeed call for a certain level of maturity. It is interesting to follow this change in his nature; this is due to the fact that it does not begin in this novel but a previously written novel by Twain entitled Tom Sawyer. In Tom Sawyer, Huck’s Character is developed as a follower and not that of a leader or sophisticated person.
The interesting part of this is that the person that Huck most admires is a boy much younger than he and not only that; he chooses to idolize this boy. This, by all means, is the highest level of immaturity. This is no different in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the beginning of the novel, Huck Finn joins a gang under the leadership of Tom Sawyer. They not only ambush children that are attending a church picnic for food, but Huck finds this fun and worth the trouble it causes.
Had it not been for the separation of Huck and Tom through the near entirety of the novel, it very well could have been a novel based on Tom rather than Huck. The separation of these two allowed for Huck to undergo adventures that built his independence and maturity, which is typical for a romantic hero. Just as in other romantic works of literature, the hero retains some level of immaturity which is represented at the end of the novel by Huck continuing his idolization of Tom and rejecting the attempts of an elder trying to civilize him.
One of the major romantic qualities seen in Huck is his progressive understanding. This progressive is my idea of what one would call it when a character continually learns new concepts or ways of understanding the world around them; be it factual or superstitious. In the novel, there is an accident in which Jim is bitten by a snake after having told Huck not to touch an old snake skin shedding for his own superstitious reasons. The incident caused Huck to resolve never to touch a snake’s skin again.
Having taken Jim’s words purely on faith and having no intellectual objections to it is a common characteristic of a romantic hero. There plenty of instances in which he has taken something on faith and faith alone, both in Tom sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In all light of the spectrum, Huck is a true American romantic hero. There is plenty more evidence of Huck’s romantic nature and it does not just happen to be a coincidence. I truly believe that Huck is the epitome of romantic heroes and having highly enjoyed the book, this is not a stance I would take without true cause or evidence.
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