The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain, 1981) is a story about life as a journey that people have to take. As portrayed by Huck Finn, the protagonist in the novel, life is depicted as an adventure that a person has to risk to be able to find out what is best for him. Huck is a young boy who chooses to live a life of his own. People are normally forced to conform to what the society dictates in order to be accepted but Huck did otherwise to determine what is best for him.
Typical of a rebel young boy, he lives on his own, eats when he wants to, does not attend school like the other children his age do, and does things that are not expected from a boy his age, like smoking and swearing. However, the life he chooses to live helps him become more competent and logical. Huck’s character is a stereotyped character of a rebellious child and to make Huck’s character all the more convincing, Twain uses effective syntax, diction, tone, and literary devices to develop this particular character.
Huck is a young boy who is constantly trying to escape the “civilized” life as shown when Huck runs away from Widow Douglas and Aunt Sally (Twain, Chapter 1). Typical of rebel children, they are hungry to explore the dangers of the world and risk adventures. Huck is able to have an adventure with Jim, which thought him that conscience is more important than what the society dictates. When he freed Jim from slavery, Huck thinks that by doing this, he is like betraying Miss Watson (who has cared for him and done nothing bad to him) since she is also a slave owner.
Huck follows his conscience instead of following the beliefs of the white society regarding slavery, “Well, then, says I, what’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same? ” (Twain, 1981, Chapter 16). Huck is depicted as ill-mannered and needs to be civilized as perceived by the society. This is another stereotype of a rebellious child.
As Huck narrates his life with Widow Douglas, “she [Widow Douglas] took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me” (Twain, 1981, Chapter 1). To firmly establish Huck’s rebellious character, Twain uses simple and informal syntax and uses a child’s point of view in narrating the whole story. By using the simple and informal syntax, readers are further convinced that it is really a child telling the story and that the child has rebelliousness inside him due to his being informal.
Moreover, rebel children are often associated with a certain group of children who lacks parental or adult guidance. In the novel, readers could read incorrect grammars that illustrates that Huck is not raised properly by adults to speak in a grammatically correct way. For instance, in Chapter 16 as his conscience bothers him when he frees Jim from slavery, he tells himself, “Why, she [Widow Douglas] tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how.
THAT’S what she done. ” This incorrect grammar is also a typical diction of the southern speech of a young boy during that time and area. The tone of voice is also that of a rebellious child which is typically humorous and informal. The theme free will versus the society helps in establishing Huck’s rebellious character. On the other hand, although the adults around him dictate to him what he is supposed to do, his free will to do what he thinks is right helps him grow and mature in a positive way.