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Modernism in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2021

Introduction

The style of the novel Huckleberry Finn reflects modernist structure and themes, vision of reality and social change. Mark Twain uses such modernist elements that involve wholesale imitation of human culture. The main elements of the modernist style are an open form, intertextuality and multiple narrative points of view. Thesis Huckleberry Finn shows that it is the characters and their interrelationship which determine the arrangement and structure of the book.

Main text

The three thematic sections subdivide into little units notable for the contrast they offer each other. The first three chapters continue naturally to which this book becomes a sort of sequel. Everything is colored by the excitement of Tom’s imaginary adventures; he insists on doing all things according to the books he has read, from having his Gang sign in blood their oaths of allegiance to capturing and holding people for ransom. Tom and Huck may themselves be viewed as symbols of the two aspects of life. Tom Sawyer has a home and a loving. In contrast appears Huck Finn. Huck fears his father and apparently never knew his mother; a homeless waif, he sleeps on doorsteps or in hogsheads; he is troubled by no ambition and steers clear of Sunday school; his life is as aimless as a bit of drift on the Mississippi. And yet Mark Twain finds Huck and Huck’s life infinitely worth while.

As a modernist novel, it reflects corruption at levels of the society. Mark twain portrays social evil and culture, social views and relations between people. Huck himself nowhere suggests that his life is not satisfactory. The novel is based on Huck Finn’s moral garment definitely tinged with gray. In the book which he relates, he lies to everybody who threatens Jim’s safety or his own. Life is precious to him; freedom is precious to him. And it is no wonder that he lies. Young as he is, he has known a deal of violence. He escapes his drunken father by staging a mock murder-his own; he notes that the Grangerfords carry their guns to church and watches their feud end in the murder of boys; he sees the drunken, blackguarding Boggs and is at hand when the blackguarding is ended by Sherburn’s bullet; he associates daily with the king and the duke, two creatures who emerge from the slime of the river, as amoral as gnomes. But Huck has a code of his own and sticks to it in defiance of hell itself. He is frequently troubled by his conscience. Huck’s conscience appears at times to be much keener than that of the romantic Toni Sawyer.

Conclusion

As a unique feature the modernist style, Mark Twain uses the narrator of the unusual adventures of Huck and Jim; the realist, portrayer of the daily round of life in small towns along the river; and the satirist, critic of the narrowness and meanness of human nature, and the way he blends the realistic and the satiric elements Every man is in his own person the whole human race, with not a detail lacking. This suggests that when he had need of a certain trait, his habit was to dig for it within himself, to isolate and study it, then to enlarge it to the proportion proper to the character. When Huck is alone, because he has no rules to go by he is guided by the voice within himself. He listens to what goes on inside him. He is free to probe within his own heart, where is to be found whatever bit of divinity man has-what we know as his soul.

Works Cited

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn. n.d. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, September 15). Modernism in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-in-mark-twains-huckleberry-finn/

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"Modernism in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn." IvyPanda, 15 Sept. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-in-mark-twains-huckleberry-finn/.

1. IvyPanda. "Modernism in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn." September 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-in-mark-twains-huckleberry-finn/.


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IvyPanda. "Modernism in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn." September 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-in-mark-twains-huckleberry-finn/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Modernism in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn." September 15, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/modernism-in-mark-twains-huckleberry-finn/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Modernism in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn'. 15 September.

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