Huckleberry Finn Friendship Essay Questions

The Importance of Friendship in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Importance of Friendship in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Aristotle was once asked what he thought friendship was. His response was, "One soul inhabiting two bodies." This was the kind of relationship that Huckleberry Finn and Jim shared in Mark Twain's epic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel is a tool that Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemmons, was using to impress the great benefits of friendship upon society. However, others feel that Clemmons was using this book for another motive, to promote racism and ever since The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, there have been people trying to ban it from public bookshelves and trying to remove it from…show more content…

Despite Twain's theme on the power of friendship to overcome one of mankind's most terrible flaws, the American Library Association found The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to be the sixth most frequently challenged book of 1997 (ALA 4). That is an extremely high ranking when you consider the number of books that are in out nation. While the allegations of racism are true, Mark Twain was using his novel to show how friendship was strong enough to overcome prejudices, not to promote racism.

One of the beliefs that Samuel Langhorne Clemmons was trying to promote was the strength of friendship and its ability to overcome any obstacle, even prejudices placed upon people by society. Huck and Jim's friendship was formed while they were travelling down the Mississippi River together. Why? Because they had something in common: they were both running away. Huck was running from his alcoholic father, and Jim was running from slavery hoping to see his family again someday. Both of the characters had several opportunities to desert one another; in fact, Huck could have gotten a large reward for turning Jim in. Neither betrayed the other because their friendship was more important. They both expressed their feelings for one another in the novel. Jim reveals his fondness for Huck one night while they were on the raft. "Jim

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Theme of Friendship

(Click the themes infographic to download.)

Huck takes friendship so seriously that he's willing to swear blood oaths on it. Worse, he's willing to risk eternal damnation—because that's what he thinks awaits him for helping Jim escape. But, once he realizes that Jim is his friend, he can't do anything else. Huck values loyalty more than anything else, so he sticks with Jim to the end. (Now that's a status you can like.) But we have to ask: if Huckleberry Finn values friendship so highly, why does Huck ditch everyone and everything he knows at the end?

Questions About Friendship

  1. There are lot of different kinds of camaraderie going on here, and a lot of different friendships. Huck, for instance, is close both to Jim and to Tom. Are those different kinds of friendships, and if yes, how so?
  2. Which characters recognize the friendship between Huck and Jim, and which don't? How can you tell? Is it seen as somehow less genuine than a friendship between Huck and Tom?
  3. Does the duke-king relationship indicate that there's such a thing as a bad friendship? A friendship that seems to make both people worse off than before?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The self-serving friendship acts as a foil to the selfless friendship between Huck and Jim.

Huck and Jim's friendship isn't actually a real friendship; it's always affected by Jim's race.

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