Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is by any means a classic. However, there are several flaws. First of all the coincidence that everything happens with in my mind detracts some from the story. The other major problem is that the book seems to drag on and on the closer you get to the end, as if Twain had a page quota to fill and was not worried about the story. The other problem brought up on our hand-out was Huck’s lack of seriousness in what was a very serious situation for Jim.
As for the coincidence part, it appears most obviously as you read towards the end.
For example Huck ends up at Aunt Polly’s, and I was thinking, yeah… right those chances are about one in a million. And then after Huck tells Aunt Polly that he is Tom, Tom shows up… uh-huh, I bet. It is things such as those I just mentioned that make it very difficult for me to read a book without becoming frustrated.
It is probably because I am used to real life and like it or not real life is just not that perfect. My other gripe was that Twain seems to ramble on and on and on an….. To me it seems as if the story that he was writing became faint shortly after the time when Huck says, “It’s me.
George Jackson, sir”(pg. 95). I do have to give him that the feud was interesting filler, but you can only take so much filler. Then when John Wayne (The Duke) and Elvis (The King) come along there seem to be four or five stops along the river that except for one little detail, are the same. Please excuse the jump back, but how coincidental is it that you have a Duke and a King on the same raft in the middle of the Mississippi river (yes I do know they are not really royalty but that does not matter)?
Even during all of this complaining I have done I did find humor in such things as when Huck was observing some local “loafers” and their discussions about borrowing and lending chewing tobacco. “Here, gimme back the chaw and you take the plug. ” (pg. 138). I can just picture four or five guys laying around chewing tobacco with spit/tobacco juice running down their chins, probably in dirty overalls with no shirts on underneath and boots, to complete the look, three or four days of beard waiting to be shaved, and oh yeah, a nice old straw hat. The picture of this I have in my head is just so vivid that it disgusts me now.
I think that is one of the reasons this is such a great book, the imagery. The final thing mentioned was Huck’s lack of seriousness or that he was too humorous or too wrapped up in fantasy for the situation both he and Jim were in. Here as opposed to the things I attacked above I will have to be on the side of the defense. My foremost reason is that I do not think Huck realizes the seriousness of the predicament. Huck is a boy that lives in Hannibal, MO during the times of the Civil War, he probably does not know any other ways to deal with anyone who is a slave or is trying to escape.
Put yourself in his shoes once and think of the trouble you might have. Then think how you would deal with these problems. Would it be in the way many kids do, with a bit of fun to try to alleviate some of the tension? Take the time when Jim thinks Huck is dead and he shows up scaring Jim to the point of carrying out a conversation with a “ghost”. Jim says ” I alwuz liked dead people, en done all I could for ? em… “(pg. 40). Read that section over and see if it does not seem to be in good taste, if you can call anything done by Huck “tasteful”.
I think it does. My final task is to come up with a new ending. I think my ending goes like this: Huck and Jim find the mouth of the Ohio river as planned and venture upstream by any means available. As they continue up the river the bond between the two runaways becomes ever stronger. When they reach the free states and Jim is officially free. After waiting around a while the two begin to get money in any way they can. When it is enough Jim buys his wife and children out of slavery, and Huck takes a cut (not too much, just enough to get home).
Once home Huck starts all over with his ever interesting plots (not without the help of Tom Sawyer). Time passes and over the years Huck misses Jim and eventually embarks on a quest. The quest to find Jim. This journey would be much like the journey he and Jim took just a few years ago. This time though, there is no John Wayne and Elvis to make the story drawn out and boring towards the end. Then Huck finds Jim, meets the wife and kids, and goes back home to lead a normal (or as normal as can be) life working as little as possible and living off his $6000.