Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is not only a great novel to read, it is also a great novel to write about. It’s stand out characters, host of historical and racial themes, as well as that it addresses issues of friendship, loyalty, bravery and courage, adaptability, and goodness overcoming evil—gives students a wealth of angles to approach the book from in a paper. What you want to do when writing an analysis essay or research paper on Huckleberry Finn is to find a topic that you find fascinating. Review some Huckleberry Finn essay topics and then decide how you will approach a Huckleberry Finn analysis essay. I’ll show you an example of an analytic approach below.
Huck is exposed to families throughout Huckleberry Finn. Huck, who is a basically an orphan his father is a drunkard and an evil man, and who has no mother in his life, is surrounded by makeshift families throughout the novel. How he comes to see these families and who he ultimately chooses as his real family tells us a lot about Huck’s journey toward understanding in the novel.
Huck is exposed to countless families throughout the course of this book. There are many circles of people in the novel, that act as “families, including Huck and Jim; Huck, Jim, the Duke, and the King; Huck and Pap; Huck, the Widow Douglas, and Miss Watson; the Grangerfords; and the Phelpses.
In Twain’s work, the “family” can be a traditional family or a group of strangers, like the Duke and the King with Huck and Finn who collectively come to act as a family to get through their trials and tribulations. Huck takes on different roles in these families – the helpful son, for example—or he feels so alienated by the family that he can only look on and observe the ways they love one another and tend to one another from afar. For example, the Grangerfords are one of the more traditional families in this complex novel – their ways are so far from his own he is fascinated by them and comes to feel quite lonely and sad in their presence. Twain hints that Huck not only feels alienated by the Grangerfords but wishes to have a real family of his own.
It is through Huck and Jim’s relationship, however, that Huck will truly gain an understanding of what a real family actually is. Yes, Jim is black and Huck is white—and, ironically, convention keeps Huck from seeing Jim’s true value to him for most of the novel. But by the end of it, he sees that a family accepts one another as they are and loves one another in spite of their shortcomings.
In all, Huck moves toward and understanding of love, respect, and true bonds with other human beings by all the families he encounters and the one he comes to see is truly his own, his family with Jim.