Early Influences on Hucleberry Finn, by Twain

Essay by Timbo1High School, 10th gradeA-, March 1997

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel

about a young boy's coming of age in the Missouri of the mid-1800's. The

main character, Huckleberry Finn, spends much time in the novel floating

down the Mississippi River on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim.

Before he does so, however, Huck spends some time in the fictional town of

St. Petersburg where a number of people attempt to influence him.

Before the novel begins, Huck Finn has led a life of absolute

freedom. His drunken and often missing father has never paid much

attention to him; his mother is dead and so, when the novel begins, Huck is

not used to following any rules. The book's opening finds Huck living with

the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Both women are fairly old

and are really somewhat incapable of raising a rebellious boy like Huck

Finn. Nevertheless, they attempt to make Huck into what they believe will

be a better boy. Specifically, they attempt, as Huck says, to 'sivilize'

him. This process includes making Huck go to school, teaching him various

religious facts, and making him act in a way that the women find socially

acceptable. Huck, who has never had to follow many rules in his life,

finds the demands the women place upon him constraining and the life with

them lonely. As a result, soon after he first moves in with them, he runs

away. He soon comes back, but, even though he becomes somewhat comfortable

with his new life as the months go by, Huck never really enjoys the life of

manners, religion, and education that the Widow and her sister impose upon


Huck believes he will find some freedom with Tom Sawyer. Tom

is a boy of Huck's age who promises...