Hello there! Here, I present to you all an assignment my American Literature class is doing, known as a “dialectic journal” for the novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” the spiritual successor to “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” In this journal, the first thing you will see is a quote from the novel itself. In this case, the quote is from the fifth chapter, in which Huck is discussing life with his abusive father, “paps.” Following the quotation, you will see my analysis of the quote, and my attempts at giving insight into the implications it could have for the future of the book. Please enjoy this journal entry.

 

Notes
Chapter 1-5

Pg. 22: “But by and by pap got too handy with his hick’ry, and I couldn’t stand it. I was all over in welts. He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It was dreadful lonesome. I judged he had got drownded, and I wasn’t ever going to get out any more. I was scared. I made up my mind I would fix up some way to leave there. I had tried to get out of that cabin many a time, but I couldn’t find no way.”

(American Literature)

 

Comments and Questions

Here, it is quite obvious that Huck is scared of his father, and that his relationship with him is not worth very much at all. When Huck left his home with the widow, he had gone back to a world of pain with direct family. Of course, he thought it might be preferable to the old life that he had lived with the widow due to the fact that he wouldn’t have to be “sivilized” or anything along those lines. He figured that when he left the widow and lived with his drunkard of a father yet again, he might at least be kept on his toes, and would actually have a reason to live on. Unfortunately, we can see in his quote here that Huck doesn’t enjoy living with his father at all, and that being kept on his toes wasn’t at all what it was cracked up to be. Instead, he returned to a broken home, being beating by his drunken paps, and being abandoned, locked in a house, for days at a time. Perhaps this could be attributed to living in the deep south: there are the stereotypes of how every town in the south would have the crazy town drunk, whom of which would do anything for alcohol. Perhaps Huck’s father’s erratic behavior truly does justify Huck selling away his $6000 for a dollar.

In the end, what I can gather from this quote is the very harsh reality of being a semi-orphaned youth in the south during the nineteenth century: nobody is there to show you that they care about you. The widow seemed to only wish to fix a broken person using “sivilizing,” and paps simply could not care less about Huck, locking him up in the house, and ignoring him, except for his occasional beatings. This gives insight into why Huck is who he is, and why he runs away with Jim: he’s a scared, broken child, who has nobody. However, there is still the question of how his brokenness will be resolved. Will Jim show him the affection he so desperately needs? Or will Huck’s plight finally straighten up paps? Who will finally show Huck the affection he needs, if anyone? These are all vital questions, and I feel that this passage narrows down the options by one person.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Dialectic Journal for Huckleberry Finn by Zachary is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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