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A Comparison Piece of Mark Twain's the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

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Join now to read essay A Comparison Piece of Mark Twain's the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave can be said to be comparison pieces. Despite that Huck Finn is a fictional character and Douglass was a physical being, certain characteristics and developmental processes are very similar.

Firstly, in the initial stages of their lives, both Huck and Douglass faced repression, though in different forms. While Huck is a character whose spirit longs to fly freely, there are others that would conform his ways. This is expressed early on in the novel when Widow Douglas attempts to compel Huck to dress in attire befitting of a civilized individual. She also tries to have him refrain from smoking and learn the bible. Like with all other authority figures encountered by Huck, he rebels and does not heed her wishes. While Huck’s repression of his free will is to reform him, Douglass’s repression of independence is in order to keep him complacent and docile. Born into slavery, any ideas Douglass might have had of freedom and independence are immediately shattered. This is possible by denying him information regarding his age and parents. He is also denied a formal education in order to prevent him from getting any worldly ideas of the inherent injustices of slavery.

Secondly, the two characters lack parental figures and therefore, miss out on any guidance that they would provide. Huck’s mother is deceased and his father is an abusive drunk who disappears frequently for extended periods of time. Huck is left to his own devices to mature. In the early stages of his life, he lacks the guidance and firm hand that are crucial to the development of a child. This lack of support infuses a sense of independence in Huck. How well he adheres to his sovereignty is tested several times throughout the novel. Due to his self-reliance, he is able to make decisions on his own, apart from the influence of the general public. Douglass is separated from his mother soon after birth and has virtually no recollection of his father. This distorts his social upbringing from its inception. The seeds of affection that manifest between a child and his parents never have time to take root. This process of dehumanizing slaves is done in order to initiate the process of destroying a slave’s sense of identity and belonging. Upon receiving word of his mother’s death, he is unmoved, almost apathetic. Sadly, he has no ties to his mother and can feel no grief for her passing.

Thirdly, Huck and Douglass are protagonists, each in their own regard. The opening of Huckleberry Finn describes a game of robbers that Huck and Tom took part in. Over the course of the novel, Huck that what mainstream society has engrained in him is not always correct. He must make decisions based on his morals, not on what has been driven into him during his upbringing. When he encounters the group of slave-hunters,

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