Huck Finn Essay
The conclusion of Mark Twain’s prominent novel The Adventure’s of Huckleberry Finn is a perplexing one. Many literary scholars and critics, such as Jane Smiley, argue that Mark Twain was not able to fully tie up the novel with its ending. They feel that Twain’s ending destroyed Huck’s moral progress and contradicted everything Huck Finn has gone through up until that point. For example, they point to Huck freeing Jim as being unnecessary because of Miss Watson freeing him in her will. On the other hand, many authors, such as Toni Morrison argue the contrary, that although Huck freeing Jim was unnecessary, it illustrates his newfound love for Jim. Huck matured from thinking of Jim as simply Miss Watson’s property to risking his own freedom and fate for his newest, closest friend. Despite the ending seeming a bit unresolved, it ultimately shows the reader just how different Huck views the world than the rest of society. *
In Jane Smiley’s essay titled, “Say It Ain’t So, Huck”, she thoroughly criticizes Twain and his novel. Throughout her essay, Smiley carries a skeptical and judgmental tone. Her first argument is that the last twelve chapters of the book was a complete “failure”. She supports this, by quoting Leo Marx who stated that, “In the closing episode, however, we lose sight of Jim in the maze of farcical invention.” The problem that Smiley and Marx have (and that “many readers sense intuitively), is that the novel strayed from its central focus, the relationship between Huck and Jim. She claims that because Twain did not really know the actual meaning of racism, the novel had no deep meaning. However, Smiley’s argument could not be more inaccurate. It is at the end of the novel, where Huck and Jim’s relationship truly strengthens and Huck begins to show his true love for Jim. Towards the end, Huck finally begins to understand his own moral conscience and how he must use it. The conclusion shows just...
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