Power Vs Power In Huckleberry Finn

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Many people may not recognize the name Samuel Langhorne Clemens; however, chances are he is quite well known as “America’s favorite writer,” (USA Today) Mark Twain. For many years his classic novels, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer were taught widely in high schools and universities as coming-of-age stories and to tell what life was like on the Mississippi. Unfortunately, because of the language of the time, “Huck’s frequent use of the n-word – 214 times by one count – has prompted parents and educators to question its use in classrooms and libraries. The American Library Association reports that Hucklberry Finn was the 14th most challenged book in the past decade” (USA Today).…show more content…
In much of his work, it is easy to see that he clearly favors competent characters over powerful characters, and it is important to know the difference between the two definitions. “One way to articulate respective definitions and differentiate between competence and power is to examine characters that transparently exemplify each quality.” In Roughing It, the character Slade is tasked with cleaning up the outlaws and maintaining order, which he does with power and force. He is described as a “powerful man [who] takes control of his environment, shaping it to his needs or desires by any means necessary.” On the other hand, Captain John Nye, who accompanied Twain on some of his travels, is an example of a very competent character. Rather than trying to control his environment, he “negotiates it by working with what he is given. Nye does not attempt to use force to control the situations and people he encounters. Rather he adjusts to them with good judgment and precision to meet his needs.” By working closely with him on the river, Mark Twain is able to understand the importance of being competent when it come to navigating the river; whereas a powerful man would try to change his surroundings in order to fit his agenda, there is no character more powerful than the might Mississippi. It is described as “the most dominant powerful character in the book, certainly more powerful than the river engineers if only by virtue of its origin” (McCammack). Even though river navigation might not seem like and important skill to have in the modern day, there is still value in the lessons about character that we can learn from Mark

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