Huckleberry Finn

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Truth and Illusion in Huckleberry Finn In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses illusion and reality to probe the prejudices and preconceptions that dominate the way most people see the world, themselves, and other people. Huck has an adventurous mind that allows Twain to explore any idea without the shackles of common civility. In this way, Huck's ability to warp the world into an illusion of his own making eases the reader into a perspective that values truth over appearance. When the illusion of one truth is removed, the reader is struck by the ugliness of the world. One of the first examples of Huck's use of illusion occurs in chapter 8. Having faked his death to escape his father, Huck decides to live on a small island in the river. For the first few days, he feels marvelously free. He has plenty of food from the nature around him and he gets to smoke his pipe without anyone chastising him. The island has essentially become an Eden that protects him from the annoyances and threats of society. The dream of living free on the island, however, cannot last. After Huck joins forces with Jim, they realize that they must hide themselves from people who might visit the island. This is the first bit of reality poking its head into their paradise. When Jim and Huck find a houseboat that has been washed down the river, they also find the body of a dead man who has been shot in the back. They flee the scene, fearing the bad luck of encountering such a sight. Thus they are again reminded that human beings often mistreat each other. If found, Jim and Huck could fall victim to a similar fate as the dead man. The interesting thing about this part of the story is that evil (or danger) comes from society rather than from nature. One often thinks of society as a refuge from the dangers of nature. Throughout history people have built walls (both literal and figurative) to keep…...

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