Huckleberry Finn is one of the most popular novels in the world. The book has been translated into more than 70 languages and has sold over 20 million copies. Huckleberry Finn is often considered to be one of the greatest American novels ever written.
The book tells the story of Huckleberry Finn, a young boy who runs away from home to live on his own. Huckleberry Finn travels down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave named Jim. Along the way, the two characters have many adventures.
Huckleberry Finn is often seen as a portrayal of Romanticism. Romanticism was a literary movement that began in the late 18th century. It stressed on individualism, emotions, and nature. Huckleberry Finn embodies these characteristics. He is an individual who does not conform to society’s expectations. He relies on his own emotions and intuition, rather than logic or reason. And he has a deep love for nature.
Mark Twain, the author of Huckleberry Finn, was a well-known Romantic writer. In fact, many of his other works, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, are also seen as portrayals of Romanticism.
In order to demonstrate a romantic and realistic imagination, Mark Twain used the contrast between Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Tom is massively inventive in the boyish, romantic sense. Tom has been influenced by romantic adventure novels and notions; this has molded his worldview and fueled his daydreams, which he constantly attempts to put into reality.
Following descriptions of gangs and highwaymen, Tom decides to establish a gang seeking to rob people and become a successful highwayman. The members of Tom’s gang would murder or ransom the men before attempting to win the hearts of the women.
This is the epitome of a romantic imagination at work. Huck, on the other hand, has a very realistic imagination. His view of the world and people in it are shaped by his life experiences growing up in a small town on the Mississippi River. He doesn’t have any grandiose notions about life or love, but he does have a great deal of empathy for others.
This is evident when Huck decides to help Jim escape slavery, even though it means putting himself at risk. Twain uses Tom and Huck to show that although a romantic imagination can be fun and provide escape from reality, ultimately it is the realistic imagination that allows us to see the world as it truly is and to connect with others in a meaningful way.
Tom’s romantic ideas are frequently dangerous and ludicrous. When Huck wanted to set Jim free, Tom was asked to assist him, an indication of a hazardous romantic imagination. Knowing full well that Ms. Watson had set Jim free before her death, Tom did not share this information with Huck; he wanted to have an adventure assisting Jim in “escaping.” During the complicated getaway, Tom recommended that Jim train animals in his jail and receive a coat of arms. Tom also sent word to the guards informing them of the escape plan.
Jim was set to be sold down river and if he escaped, he would only be caught again. The whole escape plan was Tom’s way of making the situation more exciting for himself. It endangered Jim’s life and well-being.
Tom Sawyer is the epitome of a Romantic character. He is imaginative, impulsive, emotional, and sometimes reckless. He longs for adventure and excitement. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses Tom’s romanticism to contrast with Huck’s more practical view of the world. Twain also uses Tom’s romanticism to satirize the Romantic Movement itself.
When Tom delayed, Jim’s life was put at risk when they finally managed to flee. Bounty hunters were pursuing them as they ran away and shooting at them. Twain created Huck so that the reader might have a break from Tom’s complicated plots. Huck’s desires are truly basic: he only wanted to be wild and free. By running off into the woods, Huck frequently escaped from Ms. Watson by escaping into nature. Ms. Watson attempted to “civilize” him, but he didn’t like learning about dead people or other such “nonsense.”
This is where the idea of Romanticism comes into Huckleberry Finn. Romanticism was a movement that began in the late eighteenth century. This movement believed in returning to nature, and having an emotional and intuitive connection to the world around them, instead of basing everything on logic and reason as was done during the Enlightenment period.
This is what Huck Finn embodies; a return to simplicity and a connection with nature. He expresses his intuition when he says, “All right then, I’ll GO to hell” (Twain 68). In this moment, Huck is torn between what society has taught him is right, which is to turn Jim in, and what his heart tells him, which is to help Jim escape. Huck chooses to follow his heart, or intuition, and this is what the Romantic movement was all about.
Huck embodies other characteristics of Romanticism as well. He is an individual, and does not conform to society’s expectations. He is his own person, and makes his own decisions. When he lightens Jim’s chains so he can escape, he is risking his own safety because if he is caught, he will be charged with aiding a runaway slave. But Huck doesn’t care about that; he only cares about doing what he thinks is right. This nonconformity is another characteristic of Romanticism.
The final characteristic of Romanticism that Huck embodies is a love of nature. Throughout the novel, Huck is constantly running off into the woods to explore. He feels more at home in nature than he does in civilization. This is because, as Romantic poet William Wordsworth said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her” (Wordsworth). Nature is a constant source of comfort for Huck, and he often goes there to escape the problems of society.
Tom Sawyer, on the other hand, had been educated by his father. He saw no purpose in education other than to annoy his father. Huck would rather be outdoors fishing or playing in the woods. The final and finest example of Huck’s desire for freedom was the conclusion line of the book.
“I guess I’ll have to get out ahead of the others because Aunt Sally is going to adopt me and civilize me, and it will drive me insane.” Because he despises being dominated by society and its ideas about life, Huck hates it when people try to control him. This view sums up Huck’s realistic attitude as well as how he views individuals as equals.
People in society are not individuals to Huck, but rather a general group that he does not want to be apart of. Huckleberry Finn embodies the spirit of Romanticism through is his independence and unique perspective. He rebels against society’s expectations and instead chooses his own path. Huckleberry Finn is an excellent example of how Mark Twain uses Romanticism to criticize the shortcomings of American Society.
When Huck tears up the letter he wrote to Ms. Watson about assisting Jim in escaping, it’s clear that his realistic perspective on life is present. He began to recall all of the instances when Jim had been by his side as a father figure, and he understood how they had suffered together and had fun together.
Twain also shows how hard it was to be a black person during this time, and even though Huck is not the brightest person, he still has more empathy and kindness in his heart than most people who are looked down upon by society.
This novel is set apart from others because of its distinctively American voice. The characters in Huckleberry Finn speak like real people from the 1800s, using language that would have been familiar to readers at the time. Mark Twain’s use of dialect allows readers to feel as if they are hearing the characters’ voices rather than just reading about them. This makes for a more immersive and engaging experience.
One of the most interesting things about Huckleberry Finn is its complex treatment of race. On the one hand, the novel perpetuates many of the negative stereotypes about black people that were common at the time. On the other hand, it also challenges those stereotypes by presenting Jim as a fully realized human being with his own hopes, dreams, and fears.
Ultimately, Huckleberry Finn is an important work of American literature precisely because it is so honest about the country’s history of racism. It is not a comfortable book, but it is an important one.
In conclusion, Huckleberry Finn is an obvious depiction of Romanticism. From his love of freedom, to his intuition, to his nonconformity, to his love of nature, Huck embodies all the characteristics of Romanticism. So next time you read Huckleberry Finn, keep an eye out for all the ways that Mark Twain shows us this important literary movement.