Sunday, February 24, 2013

What Does Huckleberry Finn Want?


It seriously has not taken me weeks to write these final inquiries; I've not been home for days in order to post them. Huckleberry Finn is a quick read, and most normal people would have had it completed in a couple of days.  The process of thinking about it may take a little longer, but not three weeks long.  Nonetheless, here is the second of my inquiries, and God willing, I will post my third tomorrow, once and for all.

Second Level of Inquiry: Logic Stage Reading

1.    What does the central character want, and what is standing in his way?
2.    What strategy does he use to overcome this obstacle?

            Overall, Huck wants to be free from the constraints of his civilization He wants to live by his own rules.  If he does not want to wear clean clothes, go to school, or pray over his food, he shouldn’t have to.  Of course, Huck is a teenage boy; he doesn’t always know what is best for him. Miss Watson is a temporary obstacle because she wants to “sivilize” him.

            Overall, some societal norms and expectations are standing in his way For example, his father is granted custody of Huck on the grounds that children should not be removed from their parents even though we know how abusive Huck’s father proves to be.  The law does not protect Huck.  His father forces him away and keeps him locked in a cabin.

            One other example: Huck’s idea of Jim is based on what Huck’s culture says Jim is, but Huck learns first hand that Jim has feelings, too, and deserves to be treated fully human.  Yet even Huck’s ignorance, thanks to what civilization has taught him, can only consider this evidence for Jim having “white blood in him” as if a black man is not capable of human feelings. 

            Later, a second thing that Huck wants is to free Jim.  Again, the obstacle is a society that says slaves are property.

            The strategy that Jim uses to overcome these obstacles is to rise to the occasion and resolve to go against societal norms and to free Jim once and for all.  With the help of Tom Sawyer, Huck goes along with Tom’s unnecessary convoluted plan to free Jim.  Tom withheld the truth that Jim was free after Miss Douglass died because he selfishly wanted to enjoy the adventure of it all.  He did not care about Jim’s life as Huck did.  Contrast Tom’s immaturity with Jim’s patient and gentle revelation to Huck that his father has been dead for quite a while.

            Now, Huck is free; but, when Aunt Sally desires to “sivilize” Huck, he declares enough of civilization and vows to go out West.  And one has to believe he does because nothing is going to hold him back now.  

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