Mark Twain (The Cynic) (Huckleberry Finn)

Throughout the Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) novel, The



Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn, a plain and striking point of view



is expressed by the author. His point of view is that of a cynic;



he looks upon civilized man as a merciless, cowardly, hypocritical



savage, without want of change, nor ability to effect such change.



Thus, one of Mark Twain\'s main purposes in producing this work



seems clear: he wishes to bring to attention some of man\'s often



concealed shortcomings.



While the examples of Mark Twain\'s cynic commentaries on human



nature can be found in great frequency all through the novel,



several examples seem to lend themselves well to a discussion of



this sarcastic view. In the beginning of the novel, it would seem



that both Huck Finn and Jim are trapped in some way and wishing to



escape. For Huck, it is the violence and tyranny of his drunken



father. Kept in a veritable prison, Huck wishes desperately to



escape. Jim feels the need to escape after hearing that his owner,



Miss Watson, wishes to sell him down the river-a change in owners



that could only be for the worse. As they escape separately and



rejoin by chance at an island along the river, they find themselves



drawn to get as far as possible from their home. Their journey down



the river sets the stage for most of Mark Twain\'s comments about



man and society. It is when they stop off at various towns along



the river that various human character flaws always seem to come out.



Examples of this would include the happenings after the bringing



on of the Duke and King. These two con artists would execute the



most preposterous of schemes to relieve unsuspecting townspeople of



their cash. The game of the King pretending to be a reformed



marauder-turned-missionary at the tent meeting showed that people



are gullible and often easily led, particularly when in groups and



subjected to peer pressure. The execution of the Royal Nonesuch



showed another instance of people in society being subject to



manipulation. The fact that, after being taken by a poor show they



sent rave reviews of it to their friends to avoid admitting they



had been conned showed that people in groups are ever afraid of



losing status, and will do nearly anything to protect such. Both



the King and the Duke, also, showed such a ridiculous degree of



corruptness that it is difficult to believe that all humans aren\'t



at least somewhat evil.



Another point made by the author is that of most men being



basically cowards. A good example of this was when Col. Sherburn



shot the drunk Boggs and the townsfolk came after Sherburn to lynch



him. After Sherburn, one man with only a shotgun, held off the



immense mob and made them disperse, it was obvious that no



individual really had the courage to go through with the lynching.



The idea that people are basically savages, confined for the



moment by society, is shown in more than one instance, such as when



the group was preparing to hang Huck and the King over their plot



to defraud the daughters, or, more obvious, in the war between the



Shephardsons and the Grangerfords.



The aspect of people being basically hypocrites is seen at the



beginning when Miss Watson displays a degree of hypocriticality on



insisting that Huck follow the Widow and become civilized, while at



the same time deciding to sell Jim into a hard life down the



river.



A final point seems to be that Man is continually fleeing from



something. At the end, Jim and Huck found themselves at the end of



their journey, neither having anything left to run from as Huck\'s



father was dead and Jim was a free man. It would seem, then that



Huck and Jim had run a thousand miles down the river and ended up



where they had started from.



From the above examples, one can see some of the author\'s point



in producing \'Huck Finn.\' It is apparent that Mark Twain wishes



society to realize its shortcomings and the limitations imposed by



human nature. He realizes that people will not change, but feels



that they should be aware of who they are, of what comes with this



thing we call humanity. That is Mark twain\'s main purpose in



writing this novel.

Category: English