Humanity Exposed in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
People are the picture of contrast, sometimes strong and heroic and other times weak and lamentable. In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain illustrates both the good and the disagreeable portions of human nature. The good side of humanity is shown through his depiction of peoples’ courage. The irrationality of mankind is exposed through the actions of characters in the novel. The unproductive self-serving attitude of many people is also shown in Huck Finn. The benign and malevolent faces of humankind are shown through people’s courageousness, senselessness, and selfishness.
Mark Twain displays good in humanity through depictions of courage in the characters of Huck Finn and Jim. Huck Finn was certainly one of the bravest characters in the book to have faced all of his adventures. When he and Jim happened upon a crashed steamboat, “The Walter Scott”, and discovered a ruthless band of cutthroats, Huck had the courage to try and stop them. Huck said, “But if we [Huck and Jim] find their boat we can put all of ’em [the cutthroats] in a bad fix-for the Sheriff ‘ll get ’em” (Twain 90). Huck had the fearlessness to risk his own life to bring several murderous criminals to justice. The character Huckleberry Finn displayed the human virtue of heroism when he decided to free Jim from the clutches of the Phelps family. Although he thought it would cost him his soul, Huck had the courage to follow his heart in freeing Jim as summed up by his thought, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”(Twain 273). Twains other main character besides Huck Finn is a runaway slave. This slave, Jim, exemplified true courage. When Jim decided t…
…, I reckon we’d come to consider him our [King and Duke’s] nigger; yes, we did consider him so-goodness knows we had trouble enough for him”(Twain 275), shows that they will not help any one without getting something in return, and that they did not view Jim as a person to respect.
In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain illustrates several traits that are common in mankind. Among these traits are those that are listed in this essay. Through characters in the story Twain shows humanity’s innate courageousness. He demonstrates that individuals many times lack the ability to reason well. Also, Twain displays the selfishness pervasive in society. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, many aspects of the human race are depicted, and it is for this reason that this story has been, and will remain, a classic for the ages.