Huck Finn Characterization

All people have different characteristics and develop their unique selves as they are influenced by society, other people, and the situations presented in their lives. This is even reflected in simpler times like Huck??™s society, where conventional wisdom was the true dictator that influenced who you are. Although conventional wisdom surrounded Huck, as the story continues he slowly begins to develop his own personal characteristics that are based upon his past experiences, personal judgments, and other people. Using these principles, Mark Twain represents Huck as a caring and compassionate, adventurous, and morally sound young boy, who is gradually learning what life in the real world is like.
Huck has led a harsh life for such a young boy, yet he can still find it in himself to show care and compassion to others, even though others might not have shown that same sense of care to him. This lack of care in Huck??™s life might have even influenced his kindness towards others, as he understands how bad it feels when no one seems to care for him. This can be seen in people like his Pa, and how even though he is the only living relative who can show Huck what it is liked to be loved and cared for in a family, he rather chooses to be greedy and plague Huck??™s life with misery rather than joy. Huck on the other hand is far different from his incorrigible father??™s personality, as he not only can show compassion to the people he is close to, but strangers as well. This is shown in the event where Huck??™s curiosity leads him onto a shipwrecked boat and discovers a gang of robbers who are planning to kill somebody. From here, Huck??™s trait of compassion can be seen in the following quotation, ???The first light we see we??™ll land a hundred yards below it or above it, in a place where it??™s a good hiding-place for you and the skiff, and then I??™ll go and fix up some kind of a yarn, and get somebody to go for that gang and get them out of their scrape, so they can be hung when their time comes.??? In the context of this quote, Huck and Jim have lost their raft as a result of going on the ship, and were forced to steal the robber??™s canoe to evade capture by the robbers. If these men were to have seen and caught Huck or Jim, they would have shown no mercy towards either of them and most likely killed Huck, and resold Jim into slavery. The tables are turned for the robbers, as their fate now lay in Huck??™s hands, after they are deserted on a sinking ship. The thought of their deaths played with Huck??™s compassionate conscience, as he believed that he would be indirectly killing this gang of robbers. Huck felt he would be a murderer and he didn??™t want to be a murderer in any sense of the word. Huck thus decides to help the doomed robbers by creating a lie and sending help to them. This shows Huck??™s true personality as he can look past what others might not have done for him and still show compassion to do the right thing.
The saying, ???curiosity killed the cat???, can portray Huck??™s sense of curiosity, which often misleads him onto dangerous adventures. It is in Huck??™s nature, as a young child, to be curious and have a thirst for adventure. This sense of curiosity sometimes overwhelms Huck??™s common sense on deciding what is the right or smart choice in a situation. In Huck??™s mind, the more dangerous the adventure, the better the adventure is, even when Huck knows it??™s the wrong decision. This is shown when Huck and Jim stumble upon a shipwrecked boat and are trying to decide whether or not to board the boat. Huck??™s sense of curiosity and adventure is shown in the lines, ???I doan??™ want to go fool??™n??™ ???long er no wrack. We??™s doin??™ blame??™ well, en we better let blame??™ well alone ??¦ I can??™t rest, Jim, till we give her a rummaging. Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing He??™d call it an adventure- that??™s what he??™d call it; and he??™d land on that wreck if it was his last act??¦I wish Tom Sawyer was here.??? From this conversation between Huck and Jim, we can see how Huck blatantly ignores the sound knowledge of Jim. Jim can be seen as more level headed, but the imagination and curiosity in Huck??™s mind seems to block out his common sense. Also we can see Huck??™s eagerness for dangerous adventure, in the words ???I can??™t rest, Jim, till we give her a rummaging???. This shows that Huck??™s state of mind is so intent and curious about going on the ship, that he can??™t even rest or calmly think through the pros and cons of the situation until he has satisfied his curiosity. As a result, Huck and Jim narrowly evade capture by the gang of robbers on the ship. This shows Huck??™s curiosity always seems to lead him to danger and dire consequences might result if he does not listen to his better judgment.
Huck??™s judgment has even led to him developing his own personal morals, even though they are often defiant of conventional wisdom and society at the time. Although Huck has grown up in a society where slavery and killing for no reason is a common thing, his independent mind seems to develop different ideals based on his personal reasons and judgment. This is reflected in his companionship with Jim along the river. Although Huck is far nicer to Jim than any other white boy around, at the beginning of the journey we can see that Huck is still leaning towards treating Jim more of as a slave than a human being. This is shown in Huck??™s actions and decisions towards Jim, such as the rattlesnake incident. As they continue down the river, Huck??™s morality over Jim??™s freedom changes. He slowly begins to see Jim as a human being who feels and cares for things just like him. This change in morality is shown in the line, ???Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s??™pose you??™d ??™a??™ done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than what you do now No, says I, I??™d feel bad ??“I??™d feel just the same way I do now.??? This debate in Huck??™s mind over what was the right thing to do about Jim shows that Huck is undergoing a change in his personal morals. From treating Jim as a slave to wondering if slavery in general was right, Huck begins to truly question if conventional wisdom was right. He begins to understand that slaves, like Jim, are just human beings who have emotions and desire freedom as much as he does. Although Huck??™s decision over Jim is defiant to conventional wisdom and what society had taught Huck, he still stands by his morals that slaves deserve their freedom and remains a true friend to Jim as their journey continues.
Even in Huck??™s conventional wisdom filled society, he develops his own characteristics as his surroundings and other people influence him. This can be seen in Mark Twain??™s portrayal of Huck as a caring and compassionate, adventurous, and morally sound young boy. Like Huck, people throughout the world are different based on their influences in life, making each one of us unique in our own ways.