Advancement Of The Plot In Huckleberry Finn

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Advancement Of The Plot In Huckleberry Finn Essay, Research Paper All great literary works contain an intricate weave of events which drive the plot, and allow the author to share his own view of life’s events with the reader. The masterful author Mark Twain was no exception to this rule. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, possibly his greatest masterpiece, Twain takes a story of a boy who is all alone in the world, and transforms a series of events that could each pass as short stories. However, in a masterful move, Twain placed a string of social conflicts into each element of the story, permitting the plot to flow, keeping the reader breathtakingly involved in the story. Should a more blunt statement be preferred, social conflict drives the plot of the novel and

allows Twain to give his own insight into Mississippi River Valley life and society. In fact, the social conflicts in the novel are what make it interesting to the reader. The social element of the uttermost importance to the entire novel is that of Huck’s dysfunctional family situation. The poor boy has no mother, and his father is a drunkard who comes to town upon occasion. This so-called father usually resorts to beating Huck, and is extremely vocal about his opinions, while under the influence of alcohol. Soon after the start of the story, pap, as Huck calls him, takes Huck to a log cabin in the woods, where he beats and abuses the boy. This abuse, and the setting up for the beginning of the majority of the adventures in the book can best be summed up in the quote: “But

by-and-by pap got too handy with his hick’ry, and I couldn’t stand it. I was all over welts. He to too going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It was dreadful lonesome. I judged he had got drowned and I wasn’t ever going to get out any more. I was scared. I made up my mind I would fix up some way to leave there.” (Twain 34) The quote demonstrates the conflict between Huck and his father that convinces Huck of his need to run away. A new section of the novel begins with the end of Huck’s life with his father. As the story opens, Huck has been placed in a home with the Widow Douglas by the courts. Shortly thereafter, the widow’s sister, Miss Watson, comes to live with her. It is Miss Watson, who in conjunction with Pap,

is used to move the setting of the story and set the events of the rest of the novel in motion. Miss Watson owns a slave, Jim, who will later be a key figure in the novel. The problem presented to the author in this case, is how to remove Jim from the confines of slavery and allow him to journey the river with Huck. So, Twain creates a situation in which Miss Watson is going to sell Jim down south for a large amount of money, contrary to a promise she has made to him stating that she will not separate him from his family. Jim overhears her conversation with the slave trader and flees to avoid being separated from his family. Miss Watson s greed in wanting to sell Jim south provides an excellent reason for a slave to flee, meet up with Huck in hiding, and provide a central pillar

to the novel (Marx 9-10). Not only is Miss Watson a tool used to move the plot of the novel along, she is also used to demonstrate the values of the Mississippi River Valley society at the time of Twain. The very first way in which she characterizes the river valley, is that she believes in slavery demonstrated in her ownership of Jim. Even though at the time of Twain, slavery had been ended by the Civil War, most people felt that blacks were not equals to whites, and in fact should still be in slavery. Then by breaking her promise to Jim to not sell him, she demonstrates the common belief that black people do not deserve the same moral respect as white people do. This simple action of Miss Watson reneging on her promise to a black man shows that Miss Watson is the enemy, she