The Impact of Finn’s Role Models on Huck’s Life in Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

The qualities of people are distinguished mostly by the impact others have upon them when they are children. These role models shape everyone’s life into the person we are to become, whether positively or negatively. In Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn’s role models all impact Huck’s life and the way he lives throughout the novel. Miss Watson, Widow Douglas, and Jim give Huck positive support, while pap Finn impacts Huck’s life negatively.

Miss Watson and Widow Douglas guide Huck throughout his early years when he is without family support by improving his way of life, his religious aspects, his educational outlook, and protecting him from dangers in his life. These two women help to improve his way of life by trying to sivilized him. (1) Although Huck does not like this, he goes along with what Miss Watson says because Huck believes that she’s smarter than [him]. Maybe she’s right.” (8) Although Huck believes Miss Watson is smarter than he is, he does have an education because of the Widow and her support. He learns how to read and write, and realizes how much he actually enjoys it when he confronts his Pap with his literacy, a gift his father is not blessed with. Huck’s guardians also protect him from his drunken father. They had taken him into their home and given him so many gifts as if he was their own child. Along with education, guidance, and protection given to Huck by the two spirited women, the Widow and Miss Watson also show Huck values through regular prayer. They teach him and important lesson in life, that Huck should pray for spiritual gifts [and] help other people, and do everything do everything [he] could for other people, and look out for them all the time, and never think about [himself]. (8) This is saying more than the two ladies had meant it to. Since to Huck people included blacks, Huck is able to bring himself to aid even a runaway slave through Miss Watson and Widow Douglas leadership. Through these two women’s leadership and positive influence on Huck leads him on his adventures and led him to be able to trust men that are least likely to be trusted. This is the case in the runaway slave, Jim.

Although the least likely person to be a role model in the life of a young white boy would be a slave, this is true about Jim who guides Huck throughout their adventures and protects him as a father would for his son. Huck and Jim’s mutual trust in each other is shown immediately upon discovering one another on Jackson’s Island. This is shown when Huck states, People would call me a low down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t agoing to tell, and I ain’t agoing back there anyways. (32) With this, Huck tells him his secret about faking his own death and making it to the island, and the two runaways begin their adventures down the Mississippi River. Jim’s leadership through looking after Huck and protecting him from harm proves he is a true father-like figure to Huck. This is proved when Jim did not allow Huck to see the dead man in the floating house. Jim was protecting Huck from not only seeing a dead person, but his own Pap lying in the water with a gunshot wound to the back. Huck truly sees Jim as a friend, as well as a role model throughout their adventure. Without Jim’s guidance and protection, Huck would never have survived. One of Jim’s most influential lesson he taught Huck was not to play jokes on his friends. He showed Huck that a joke should not harm another person like Huck had hurt him in the Fog Trick because it hurt his feelings and played with his emotions. This also proves once again that Jim has feeling for Huck and cares deeply about his actions in life. Jim realized that Huck truly is his friend, and even close enough to be his son.

Miss Watson, Widow Douglas, and Jim all showed the right path to Huck, but the person who’s job this really belongs to, Pap Finn, was unable to accomplish this feat and lead Huck astray in life. When Pap Finn returns to claim Huck as his son again, he was only thinking about his money. Pap does not truly care about Huck, or about raising him into a sivilized young man. Pap sets a horrible example for Huck through drinking, swearing, smoking, and locking Huck up in the cabin while he goes to town to get drunk. One example of when Pap got too drunk for his own good was when he convinced the judge that he was a changed man and quit drinking. Early the next morning he was found with a broken arm and passed out drunk. His bad example for Huck was clearly shown when Huck began to swear and smoke once again after living with Pap only a few days. The lifestyle Huck had inherited from the Widow and Miss Watson had been ruined by the Town Drunk, Pap Finn. Huck’s Father is truly an unfit father who does not care about who Huck is or who he will become.

In conclusion, role models are everywhere because each person affects another in a certain way. As in the case of Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Miss Watson, Widow Douglas, Jim, and Pap Finn all had a tremendous impact on him, shaping his life and personality into that of a young man.


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