Shock Therapy for Americans: You are Huck and he

Shock Therapy for Americans: You are Huck and he is no Hero In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, author Mark Twain comments on the ills of postbellum Southern society through his development of the character Huckleberry Finn and his relationship with Jim, a runaway slave. The two characters both run from injustices and are distrustful of the society around them. Huck is an uneducated backwoods boy on the run from his abusive father, constantly under pressure to conform to the “civilized” surroundings of society. Jim is a slave and so is not considered a person, but property. He is trying to escape to the North where he will purchase his familys freedom when Huck stumbles upon him on Jackson Island and decides to help him. In doing so, Twain is setting the stage for Huck to be the hero of the novel. He does this for specific reasons. One of which is he draws us into the story more with each chapter so that the unexpected ending where Huck does not turn out to be the hero makes us question why Twain would employ such an ending. The surprise ending quells all support that Huck is the hero of the novel. It is obvious he is not and that the story actually lacks a genuine hero. In relation to this, Huck could be seen as representation of Southern society and its evolution throughout and beyond the era of slavery. Twain does not end the novel in the predictable manner we would think he would in order to show by example how such a story would really have ended during and even after the slavery period. Twain wants us to believe that Huck and Jim become friends purely because of coincidence. This is evident the first time Huck and Jim meet and in the manner in which Twain develops their relationship for the majority of the novel. Huck is always struggling with his conscience over whether or not helping Jim is just. After much time together, Huck begins to truly love Jim as a person and so c…

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