Flaws in Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is by any means a
classic. However, there are several flaws. First of all the coincidence that
everything happens with in my mind detracts some from the story. The other
major problem is that the book seems to drag on and on the closer you get to the
end, as if Twain had a page quota to fill and was not worried about the story.
The other problem brought up on our hand-out was Huck's lack of seriousness in
what was a very serious situation for Jim.
As for the coincidence part, it appears most obviously as you read
towards the end. For example Huck ends up at Aunt Polly's, and I was thinking,
yeah...right those chances are about one in a million. And then after Huck
tells Aunt Polly that he is Tom, Tom shows up...uh-huh, I bet. It is things
such as those I just mentioned that make it very difficult for me to read a book
without becoming frustrated. It is probably because I am used to real life and
like it or not real life is just not that perfect.
My other gripe was that Twain seems to ramble on and on and on an.....
To me it seems as if the story that he was writing became faint shortly after
the time when Huck says, "It's me. George Jackson, sir"(pg. 95). I do have to
give him that the feud was interesting filler, but you can only take so much
filler. Then when John Wayne (The Duke) and Elvis (The King) come along there
seem to be four or five stops along the river that except for one little detail,
are the same. Please excuse the jump back, but how coincidental is it that you
have a Duke and a King on the same raft in the middle of the Mississippi river
(yes I do know they are not really royalty but that does not matter)? Even
during all of this complaining I have done I did find humor in such things as
when Huck was observing some local "loafers" and their discussions about
borrowing and lending chewing tobacco. "Here, gimme back the chaw and you take
the plug." (pg. 138). I can just picture four or five guys laying around
chewing tobacco with spit/tobacco juice running down their chins, probably in
dirty overalls with no shirts on underneath and boots, to complete the look,
three or four days of beard waiting to be shaved, and oh yeah, a nice old straw
hat. The picture of this I have in my head is just so vivid that it disgusts me
now. I think that is one of the reasons this is such a great book, the imagery.
The final thing mentioned was Huck's lack of seriousness or that he was
too humorous or too wrapped up in fantasy for the situation both he and Jim were
in. Here as opposed to the things I attacked above I will have to be on the
side of the defense. My foremost reason is that I do not think Huck realizes
the seriousness of the predicament. Huck is a boy that lives in Hannibal, MO
during the times of the Civil War, he probably does not know any other ways to
deal with anyone who is a slave or is trying to escape. Put yourself in his
shoes once and think of the trouble you might have. Then think how you would
deal with these problems. Would it be in the way many kids do, with a bit of
fun to try to alleviate some of the tension? Take the time when Jim thinks Huck
is dead and he shows up scaring Jim to the point of carrying out a conversation
with a "ghost". Jim says " I alwuz liked dead people, en done all I could for ‘
em..."(pg. 40). Read that section over and see if it does not seem to be in
good taste, if you can call anything done by Huck "tasteful". I think it does.
My final task is to come up with a new ending. I think my ending goes
Huck and Jim find the mouth of the Ohio river as planed and venture
upstream by any means available. As they continue up the river the bond between
the two runaways becomes ever stronger. When they reach the free states and Jim
is officially free. After waiting around a while the two begin to get money in
any way they can. When it is enough Jim buys his wife and children out of
slavery, and Huck takes a cut (not too much, just enough to get home). Once
home Huck starts all over with his ever interesting plots (not without the help
of Tom Sawyer). Time passes and over the years Huck misses Jim and eventually
embarks on a quest. The quest to find Jim. This journey would be much like the
journey he and Jim took just a few years ago. This time though, there is no
John Wayne and Elvis to make the story drawn out and boring towards the end.
Then Huck finds Jim, meets the wife and kids, and goes back home to lead a
normal (or as normal as can be) life working as little as possible and living
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