Today in class we discussed about how Huckleberry Finn has a linear plot. It starts off with an exposition in which Miss Watson is trying to civilize Huck, and then his father shows up and kidnaps him. Then there is a rising action in which Huck escapes his father and Jim escapes as well. In the climax Jim rips up his letter to Miss Watson explaining where Jim is. In the falling action Huck and Tom try and free Jim from the Phelp’s farm. The resolution is that Tom gets shot and explains to Huck that in Miss Watson’s will Jim is to be set free and Huck decides to move out west.
We also talked in groups of four about the different themes in the book. The first theme is friendship. One example of friendship is Tom and Huck. This relationship focuses more on a childhood friendship. Jim and Huck’s friendship is more of a philosophical friendship and they both learned so much through their friendship. Huck realized that his conscience of trying to help Jim escape was the right decision in the end. He went against everything he had every known and found a real friendship in Jim. Jim learned to trust Huck which shows great strength in their relationship. Independence is another theme in the book and this was very evident when Huck escaped Miss Watson and his father. It really showed how Huck could survive on his own and he really grew as a character throughout the book gaining more independence. Desire for personal freedom is another theme and this is very clear when Jim is trying to get to the free states in order to work and save money for his family. An example of conflict between the individual and the society is Jim versus racism. He had to fight racism throughout the whole book which even made him question if he should trust Huck. Huck and Jim try to make sense of the world as they go through all these adventures together and work together to try and figure out who the frauds are. The moral dilemma in the book is when Huck is trying to decide if he should send Miss Watson a letter explaining where Jim is and about him running away. Huck really struggles with doing the “right” thing and actually doing the right thing. He grew up listening to white people and it was the norm to have slaves and he thought it was “right” to tell Miss Watson but for some reason it didn’t feel right to him morally because of how close him and Jim have gotten. Racism is a very consistent theme in this book. Jim is seen as a “runaway” whenever they encounter someone they always asked if Jim was a runaway. He was always seen as different because he wasn’t being a slave when they were going about their adventures. Jim also encounters a lack of acceptance. He isn’t accepted for who he really is. Hypocrisy of the civilized society is also a dominant theme because there is always a lack of balance of trying to do the right thing but also being racist. Tom really portrays honest listening and caring when he explains how Miss Watson wanted Jim to ultimately be free. Accepting one another is the final theme of the story that we discussed and this is very true between Jim and Huck’s friendship. Huck saw and accepted Jim for who he really was. Huck wanted to help Jim find freedom and they really trusted one another.
These are just some of the themes that are presented in the book. These themes such as lack of acceptance were very evident during this time period in history and reading this story really puts things into perspective of how bad people were judged and really shows how bad racism was. We discussed realism at the beginning of class and the racism seen in this book is something that was very real during this time in history. It is hard to believe some of the adventures that Huck and Jim went through but that doesn’t mean that they could not happen. This book could very well have been someones reality.