Essay about Huck Finn Literary Criticism

1499 Words Mar 20th, 2013 6 Pages
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain portrays his main character and the novel’s namesake, a deeply complex individual, even as a child. He has obvious abandonment issues and continues to struggle with finding his place in society. Huck starts by trying to fit in with Tom and a band of young boys, but eventually finds true companionship in a slave named Jim. Huck continues in his struggles as his moral beliefs conflict with the moral beliefs of the society of his time. This conflict comes from Huck being so immersed in a society that he does not seem to belong in, all while still trying to find a place that he does belong.
According to Harold Bloom and Leslie A. Fiedler, “The moral crisis of the book is created by the constant disjunction in
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Earlier on in the novel, Huck is seen trying to fit in by joining Tom’s gang even if that meant killing people. At that point in the novel, one might say that Huck agreeing to this was just out of loneliness and wanting to belong. As the novel progresses, however, Tom’s actions seem to become more and more aggressive. As Bloom says, “Tom's scheme for stealing away a Negro whom he knows to be free is not only sadistic but thoroughly immoral.” Though to readers Tom’s actions might seem immoral, he is simply acting as a product of his society. Just as Huck was trying to fit in with Tom by agreeing to join his gang, Tom is trying to fit into his society by following the normalcies that have been exposed to him. Based on this point, Bloom goes on to say that there “is nothing any more ridiculous about what Tom does than there is about what society inflicts on them every day” (Bloom 25-39). Readers, therefore, cannot judge the moral level of the characters based on today’s moral code, but rather of the moral code of the society that these characters were placed in.
As the novel progresses, however, Huck begins to become aware of the morals in society, but chooses to go against them anyway. Bloom argues:
It never enters his head for a moment that protecting Jim against recapture is anything but wrong; for he has no abolitionist ideas and questions the justice of slavery no more than did

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