October 27, 2004

Heroes in Huckleberry Finn

As I continued reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I tried to think of a topic that really wasn't discussed in class. Folklore is always interesting, however, the idea of heroism found in this novel became an interest for discussion. Obviously, heroism is found in Huckleberry Finn all throughout the novel. I came up with this topic having at least 10 more chapters to read. Surprisingly, in the last chapter, the word hero was stated, and I knew that I was on the right track.

The word hero has a few definitions.

1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits and favored by the gods.

2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.

3. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.

4. The principal male character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.

I think that there are three characters in Huckleberry Finn, who demonstrate heroic characteristics. The first character is of course Mr. Huck. It seems that Huck has always wanted to find himself, or it might seem that he is really just acting as an adolescent might act. Huck seems to always have a different way of thinking from that of the society around him. I focused more on Huck's later experiences with being a hero. I found in chapter 38, Huck speaks out his heroic thoughts when speaking with Tom Sawyer. Huck says to Tom, "And that is, there's a nigger here that I'm a trying to steal out of slavery-". Huck is not afraid to tell Tom his plan, which is where Huck here in this section is really taking action as hero.

The second hero in Huckleberry Finn is Jim of course. I feel that Jim is a hero just because he is there for Huck for the most part through a mental aspect. Huck is growing physically and mentally, and I feel that Jim is there as the character who inspires Huck during his growth in adolescence.

A question here for the class is

In what ways throughout the story have we observed Jim being this hero as almost a mentor for Huck?

Are there other actions that Jim has proved to be a hero, and what these heroic actions?

A third hero in this novel is Mr. Tom Sawyer, who iniates his heroness at the end of Huckleberry Finn. I think that both Tom and Huck really feed ideas off of eachother when they create a plan to free Jim. I found when Huck was thinking to himself how Tom would actually place shame on his family name by helping free Jim. In chapter 34 (p176) Huck is describing Tom, that Tom is "respectful, well brung up; and had a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; he was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling, than to stoop to this business..." My interest here is that how do you think Huck feels about his own acts to save Jim, and might Huck be comparing himself to Tom?

Huck also describes Tom as able to super-intend any boy I ever see, and that he could do everything. When I said that Tom and Huck interchange eachothers ideas, I also found in chapter 35, Tom has faith in the two of them succeeding with freeing JIm. Tom really speaks his heroic thoughts, "there's more honor in getting him out through a lot of difficulties and dangers". If i'm not mistaken, this is also how Huck might feel. Therefore they really work well together.

Note also that great feeling when the heroes, Huck and Jim, finished their digging the hole to get to Jim, and surprised Jim. In chapter 36 Huck mentions, "He was so glad to see us he most cried; and called us honey, and all the pet names he could think of". Heroes are great!

Posted by ShannaDeFrances at October 27, 2004 02:32 PM
Comments

Shanna,

The topic that you picked about how the characters represent as heros in the novel is a very good topic to discuss about. The class was very responsive to it. I would agree that Jim and Huck are the main heros, and Tom isn't really a hero. He's more like a leader. His actions are not heroic, just dangerous and foolish. The only heroic thing that Tom did was to free Jim, but the problem with this idea was that Tom already knew that Jim was free. In your opinion, do you think that the Grangerfords were heroic? I think that in a way, Buck and the 19-year old were heroic, since they died for Buck's sister Sophia.

-Nabila :)

Posted by: NabilaUddin at October 27, 2004 09:19 PM

Thanks Nabila. You never know how the class will respond, and I feel that getting in front of class to discuss a topic is good practice and preparation for beginning teachers. Now, as for the Grangerfords, whom really didn't appeal to my understanding at all, I would agree a little that they posess some heroic characteristics. I have changed my thoughts about Tom as being a hero in the novel. I was total oblivious to the fact that Tom knew that JIm was free; therefore I automatically claimed him as a hero. Thanks for your comments Nabila! ;)

Posted by: ShannaDeFrances at October 28, 2004 08:30 AM

Shanna,

I really enjoyed your presentation and I believe that it was essentially a topic that was both original as well as insightful. This topic really led to a great class discussion. I was wondering though after you have realized the connection of Tom, do you believe that he was a hero or not? I rationalized for myself that Tom was essentially a hero in terms of a book definition but I do not believe that it was through societal conditions. I was wondering though what do you think? I hope to hear from you soon!!

Melissa

Posted by: Melissa Hagg at October 31, 2004 09:32 PM

Hello Melissa,

See, sometimes I miss important information when I read, and I didn't even pick up that Tom knew about Jim being free. So I guess I would feel that Tom was also a hero; however, after I found out about Tom just going along with the adventure of setting Jim free, I really do not feel 100% that Tom is a hero. Perhaps Tom wanted to play the part of a hero and he knew if he would go along with freeing Jim that he might become a hero in Hucks eyes. Tuff to say.

Posted by: ShannaDeFrances at November 1, 2004 02:03 PM

Shanna,

I agree with you that it is definitely a controversy to say exactly for sure that Tom is 100% a hero or not in the story. I think it might just be easier to say that in some points there are definitely evidence to prove the sighting of a hero and other areas there is not substantial evidence. I appreciate your opinion!! It is really a hard topic to analyze!! But, I am glad that we agree somewhat!!

Melissa

Posted by: Melissa Hagg at November 3, 2004 10:15 AM

Shanna,

I agree with you that it is definitely a controversy to say exactly for sure that Tom is 100% a hero or not in the story. I think it might just be easier to say that in some points there are definitely evidence to prove the sighting of a hero and other areas there is not substantial evidence. I appreciate your opinion!! It is really a hard topic to analyze!! But, I am glad that we agree somewhat!!

Melissa

Posted by: Melissa Hagg at November 3, 2004 10:15 AM

what is the works cited on this info of yours,i would like to give you credit but i don't know how

Posted by: diamond at December 12, 2005 08:07 PM

Do you believe Jim evolved into a father figure to Huck and if so where do you find the most textural support?

Posted by: Stacy at April 28, 2006 02:33 PM
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