Huckleberry Finn: Who Is Only A Name?

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Huckleberry Finn is the title character, the protagonist and the narrator of the story. We get to see the world of the novel through the young boy’s eyes.
The very first piece of information we learn when we read a literary work is the name of the characters existing in the novel. With respect to Huckleberry, it is not clear as to why this character has been given such an unusual name, however there are some hypotheses regarding this issue.
Some scholars, such as Walter Blair, gave some thought to this matter and determined that Huckleberry is “only a nickname”. (as cited by James L. Colwell in Huckleberries and humans: On the naming of Huckleberry Finn). However, there are other scholars who contradict what Blair suggested, because Twain refers
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The fruit itself denotes something small that does not need cultivation in order to grow. This is true for Huck as well, because he does not need the environment around him to tell him what to do, but he can make his decisions on his own without being influenced by the society. Also the fruit signifies his lower social standing. Concerning his last name, it is believed that it was taken from an Irishman who was an excessive drinker. (Colwell, 1971)
Huck is a round character because he undergoes a drastic transformation due to many conflicts that he experiences throughout the novel. From a social outcast he becomes a kind of hero. Due to the impossibility of elaborating every detail of this complex character, this thesis focuses only in some aspects of his character.
Huck grew up without a mother, and later on at the end of the novel he finds out that his father is dead as well. This helps him establish his own set of beliefs, not what society wanted him to believe (or at least tried to). Bloom (2003) even considers Huck as “a miracle of self-emancipation” due to his non-conformist attitude toward prevailing practices and principles in the nineteenth-century America. There are many individuals who want to change him, and he eventually changes as the story
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He does not attempt to prevent this plan, or make another one instead, but they go ahead to proceed with their execution of the plan just so they can satisfy their needs for adventure. Nevertheless, his ill-treatment of Jim can be justified from the fact that he is still learning to be a friend to him and as Huck comes to know him better he matures and even asks for his forgiveness. After all, what must not be overlooked is the fact that he is only a thirteen-year-old boy and his actions must be judged based on his age. However, Shrum comes on Huck’s defense by saying that “with each new joke or trick he plays on Jim, Huck is struck with an increasing sense of shame and penitence for what he has done, gradually acquiring an understanding of Jim’s equality and value as a human being and father figure.” (Shrum, 2014b, p.1). Whatever the case may be, considering the period in which the novel is set, it is admirable of Huck befriending a
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