The character I believe to be the most ironic is Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain makes Huck out to be an idle, vulgar child who was not a good influence on the town’s children. However, as the story progresses, it is discovered that this description is quite ironic because Huck is not really this way on the inside. When Huckleberry Finn is first introduced, he is described as “idle and lawless and vulgar and bad” (pg. 42). Twain uses this language to display what a rough boy Huck is. Huck’s father was also a drunk who was not respected by anyone in the town.
Because of this, the town all must’ve believed Huck would turn out this way also, which caused Huck to be an outcast; the adults did not want their children hanging around a soon-to-be alcoholic, in case it had a bad influence on them. Contrary to this description, it is discovered throughout the story that Huck is not such a horrible boy; he is quite like any other boy, such as Tom or Joe Harper. Huck just wanted to be able to have fun and live a carefree life. When the three boys run away to be pirates, Huck had the most enjoyable time.
It wasn’t because pirates are usually thought of as evil; but because he could leave all the judgment behind him and be thought of as an equal to his friends. Huck didn’t want to be thought of as bad or lawless; ironically, he just wanted to be equal to his friends. When the boys were off being pirates, Joe Harper got homesick and wanted to leave Jackson Island. Tom was outraged at this turn of events and turned to Huck for support. One would think that, because of his reputation, Huck would back Tom up and be tough and forceful.
This is assumed because Huck was described as an outcast and someone the boys looked up to as strong and cool. Ironically, Huck sides with Joe and ashamed, admits he wants to go home. This is not expected because Huck has little to go home to. Between Tom and Huck, it is assumed that Tom would rather go home because he has a life off the island, because he has a family that cares for him. The switch is ironic because Huck lets down his guard and admits to be lonely, when there is no one off the island for him.
Tom notices Huck’s reaction when Joe was leaving: “It was discomforting to see Huck eyeing Joe’s preparations so wistfully, and keeping up such an ominous silence” (pg. 109). Tom is alarmed at Huck’s reaction because Huck was supposed to be strong and lawless, when Huck is actually just another normal boy with feelings. Finally, in the end, Huck saves Widow Douglas from Injun Joe and acts as hero. This is ironic because usually people who are described as “hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town” (pg. 42) with his “gaudy outcast condition” are not thought of as heroes.
The type of person Huck was described as is usually the villain. However, Huck contrasts everyone’s opinion of him by running for help when someone was in trouble. When he reached the Welshman’s house to get help, his name was replied to by “Huckleberry Finn, indeed; it ain’t a name to open many doors, I judge! ” (pg. 187). From this, it is easy to see how big of an outcast Huck is. Many think he is a troublesome kid, just like the Welshman’s, but this scene was ironic because most would not expect someone is hated by many to be bringing please for someone else’s sake.
Huckleberry Finn is the most ironic character in the story. When he was questioned about his motives for saving Widow Douglas, he says, “I’m a kind of hard lot-least everybody says so, and I don’t see nothing against it” (pg. 190). One can tell that Huck knows he is thought of as a bad, wild boy, but it is ironic because he also knows he is not really that type. Huck succumbs to the judgment of society but in actuality knows he is not what everyone thinks he is.