A Narrator Named Huck Essay

1032 words - 5 pages

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is certainly a book to remember, filled with adventure, mystery, and idiosyncratic events. The story is narrated by the protagonist Huck Finn, who always seems to have a unique perspective about everything around him. As a vernacularly dictated novel, the story is told in straight order, lacking flashbacks or foreshadowing of future events. In this sense, it does not follow any specific narrative path; instead being a casual, roundabout portion of Huck's life. Although the book is full of danger, tension, and resolution, much of it seems quite random and has little effect on the overall plot. All of this is certainly relevant in Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The unique perspective afforded by Huck's moral development, education, and innocence enables Mark Twain to portray Huck's adventures genuinely in the South, and more importantly, the South's culture in general.
Throughout the book Huck is faced with many moral decisions, and as the book progresses, he seems to gain more moral sensibility, which reflects his role as a narrator. While Huck is trying to persuade Judge Thatcher to take all of his money to invest it, he says, "'Please take it,' says [Huck], 'and don't ask me nothing -- then I won't have to tell no lies'" (22). Even though this is taking place early in the book, we can already see Huck's moral development maturing. This allows the reader to have faith in the narrator and believe what Huck has to add narrative-wise is relevant and valid. Because Huck is the narrator, we can see his progression throughout the book and his morals reflect the decisions he makes and what he contributes to the novel. As Huck and Jim are floating down the river, they notice burglars are trying to rob a sinking boat. Previously, Huck and Jim stole the robbers' getaway boat and now Huck is faced with the moral decision of whether or not to send them help. As this happens Huck thinks to himself, "...there ain't no telling but I might come to be a murderer myself yet, and then how would I like it" (172). At this point Huck's moral maturity is rising and the fact that he makes these decisions is one factor that makes him more reliable as a narrator. Although moral development enlightens Huck's reputation as a narrator, his deficiency in education could add to his unreliability as a narrator.
Due to Huck's lack of education, his dialect can be rather dim at some points of the book, which accurately reflects what many people were going through at that time period. Through these grammatically incorrect statements and ignorant blunders he also reveals his lower class background. Statements such as "I could see that there was two Providences" (10), and "there warn't no help" (10) strongly implies the lack of education and sophistication within this novel. This form of ignorance, unlike Huck's moral development, contributes...

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