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Commentary on Huckleberry Finn Essay


Physical journey is any movement where a person physically moves from one place to another. Physical journeys are usually supplemented with self-realisations and gaining a broader understanding of ourselves, others and the world around us. Obstacles and challenges are thrust upon us, and it is through this learning experience, that we discover the qualities and strategies needed, in which to overcome such obstacles. Through this process, ignorance is generally substituted with knowledge and physical journeys may also result in self-actualisation. We customarily gain an extended appreciation and positive perspective of ourselves, others and the world around us. On the contrary, others who may travel on a physical journey may gain nothing but an intransigent perspective on themselves and their personal surroundings.

Literature is the plain, and train, and road. It is the destination and the journey. I personally believe this statement to be correct on several levels. The concept of physical journey is effectively represented in Mark Twains prose fiction novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Robert Frosts, The Road Not Taken, and Walt Disneys Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World.

Mark Twains picaresque novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, conveys the concepts implicated with physical journey. This episodic narrative is told through the eyes of Huck, a likeable and determined youthful rouge. He is the central character and narrator and is believable as he is honest in retelling the events. The themes, ideas and concepts are portrayed through Huck, as he is created to symbolise Mark Twain's mouthpiece. Huck is an outsider from society and this enables him to naively criticise and comment on societys faults and flaws and also gives him the ability to be open and eager to engage in new ideas and experiences. Through Huck, an accurate portrait of society is created. The foundation of this moral and political fable is the river, the central metaphor. This is used to emphasize the extreme contrast between life on the river and life on land. Life on the river is serene, calm and tranquil, whilst vastly differing on land. Land is depicted as the complete opposite, with civilized society portraying the disturbing aspects of humanity. The river is also metaphorically used to represent the passing of time. Through this passing of time, Huck and Jim (a runaway slave) warrant the capability to learn more about themselves, others and the world around them. The river is the vehicle, a method by which Mark Twain communicates his ideas and concepts.

Huck is exposed to the evil side of society as he learns more of the immoral and unjust treatment of slaves. Freedom seems unimaginable for Jim, who has been separated from his family. Whilst he is free in his mind with his thoughts and plans, the search for freedom for both Huck and Jim becomes the core of the novel. As the reader, we become educated on how the key characters overcome challenges and obstacles they encounter and may practise and apply these skills to our own lifes challenges.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn involves a number of key incidents loosely linked together, connected by the lessons learnt of both Huck and Jim. Throughout the journey, Huck is required to alter his views and judgements on social issues such as slavery and the superiority of whites over blacks. Society viewed black people as only slaves and deprived them of their rights, treating them with as much respect one would show an animal. Huck has been raised to treat blacks this way and it is not until he begins his voyage with Jim, that he starts to question white societys morals and ethics. As their relationship grows and strengthens, Huck is forced to make decisions regarding Jims feelings as well as his wellbeing. This adaption begins in the fog episode. At the beginning of this episode, Huck and Jim are separated when a powerful fog sets in. When Huck finally locates Jim, he is asleep. Huck decides to play a trick on Jim and pretend that they had not been separated the whole time. That Huck had never left his side. Jim didnt believe Huck, but Huck persuaded Jim that he was right. This scene illustrates just how well Huck is able to utilize his ability to manipulate others as Huck is very believable and persuasive. It also shows Jims gullibility and superstition. When Jim finally realizes that Huck had been tricking him, he declares to Huck just how much he had hurt him, and it becomes evident here that Huck feels guilt, saying It was fifteen minutes before I could humble myself to nigger-but I done it, and I warnt ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. It is in this episode that Huck begins to establish the concept of whites and blacks being equal and he also gains a clearer understanding of the imprudent values of white society. It is also here, that Huck realises just how much his own foolish actions can affect others. It becomes clear to the reader that Huck is starting to develop a conscience and is learning new managing and coping skills, a key attribute to physical journeys. I didnt do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldnt done that one if Id s knowed it would make him feel that way. This again reinforces the guilt Huck is feeling.

It shows that Huck has the capacity to gain and learn from new experiences. The fog represents separation and confusion, and with the clearing of the fog, comes the realisation of how much Huck and Jim rely on each other. It is through this episode and a number of others that Huck learns not to discriminate others by faults or flaws, he gains a conscience and how consequences follow decisions and the importance of others feelings. He also learns when to apologise and how it may be beneficial to meet new people and that everyone is equal regardless of class or colour. Huck learns to appreciate his freedom.

Robert Frosts, The Road Not Taken, is a fine example to demonstrate the concept of physical journey. This poem represents the basic choices that all people must face during their lifetime, regardless of time or place. The road is an extended metaphor and it is the road that symbolises the aspect of the physical journey. Robert Frost has given the reader a basic outline of what the poem contains, as well as detailed scrutiny of the two possible outcomes. The core theme of this poem is the importance of evaluation in decision making. The importance of individuality is emphasised throughout this traditionally structured poem. The physical aspect of the poem is walking down the path. Decision making is exemplified with Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both. This decision was clearly made by the traveller in their youth, as Frost sets the poem in the morning. The traveller has had to make a decision whether to take the more travelled road, or the one less travelled. To highlight the importance, Frost has used long pauses and a variation in pace, with a slower pace indicating old age. The decision is made to take the road less travelled and it is now that the traveller can look back with hindsight upon their decision

I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. This quote at the end of the poem emphasizes the satisfaction and how far the traveller has come since making this crucial decision. They have learnt the significance of decision making and the consequences of the choices we make. The outcome of this poem is especially positive, as they chose to be an individual. This journey shows not only the independence of the traveller but the ability to self-reflect.

Walt Disneys Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World is another example of physical journey that strategically demonstrates well known aspects of physical journeys. This is a story of a proud native-American woman who bravely leaves her home country to travel to the mysterious and unfamiliar new world, England to make peace. It is in England that she is faced with a number of peculiar and perplexing customs. On this journey she becomes educated and familiar with the different traditions and routines of cultures different to her own.

She is faced with a number of challenges and must overcome these to defeat others negative expectations of herself. This journey brings out Pocahontass curious side and shows just how inquisitive a traveller in a new and unknown place can be. Through this journey, she learns how to listen to the spirit within and to follow her heart. These quotes demonstrate the spiritual growth that some may also encounter during a physical journey. At the end of her journey, she must decide where her heart lies as she had gained the ability to make decisions, accept the consequences and demonstrate the ability to self reflect and gain a clearer understanding of herself, the people she encounters and her surroundings.

All aspects of physical journey are depicted and explored profoundly through the texts, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Road Not Taken and Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World. These three texts strongly concentrate on the challenges and obstacles we are confronted with and the skills we acquire to overcome such obstacles. In each of the texts, the voyager came to many new understandings about themselves, others and the world around them. Huck and Jim learn many lessons on the land and on the river, metaphorically symbolising the passing of time. It is here that morals are questioned and skills are gained. The Road Not Taken illustrates the importance of self-reflection and the benefits of being an individual. It is in this instance where applying a positive outlook on ourselves, others and the world around us comes into focus. Pocahontas displays the ability to overlook negative judgement and to do what she thinks is right and just. She has expressed more of a spiritual influence to her particular journey. This journey confirms her eager approach to new experiences.

Through these three texts, it is demonstrated to us that we must also gain the qualities needed to conquer lifes many obstacles and challenges and the benefits of defeating them. By doing this, it may positively alter the way we view ourselves, others and the world around us. Literature is the plane, and train, and the road. It is the destination and the journey. This metaphorical statement becomes evident after studying these three texts.

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