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Huck Finn: Portrait of a Rebel

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Portrait of A Rebel

Smart and efficient, but uncivilized in manner and habit; ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed, but a good a heart as ever any boy had; this is Huck Finn, a young boy that seeks to run away from home and flee his life. Throughout American Literature, the 'bad boy' or rebel has fascinated readers. American society flocks typically toward specific characters in literature based on their actions and characters. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck Finn is the perfect example of such a rebel.

At first blush Huck Finn seems like an incorrigible youth of the period. In his first appearance in the novel, he is sneaking out of his window. (3) Huck is also caught in a mess of lies throughout the novel. For example Huck is caught pretending to be a girl. “Oh, yes'm, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah's my first name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary.” (44) Huck feels ambivalent toward the idea of “civilization.” Huck's view of civilization would be along the lines of floating on a raft down a river doing whatever comes his way, rather than behaving like he is expected to by his foster mother Miss Watson who is trying to civilize him. (1-2, 220)

In spite of all his deficiencies, he has endearing qualities. Huck shows sides of intelligence by being resourceful. For example Huck faked his own death so that he could freely run away without the worries of being found. (25) Huck has also shown that he can be compassionate. He shows that he cares for Jim, a run away slave that Huck befriends in time. (4, 175) He and Tom Sawyer, his mischievous friend, devise a plan to free Jim

from being held captive. (175-189)

Possessing both favorable and unfavorable traits Huck

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