Pap's Effect on Huck in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" Essay

When a man becomes worthless in one’s eyes, one begins to loathe all morals and ideas that man has ever demonstrated. In Mark Twain’s classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the main character, Huck Finn, is greatly influenced by his jaded father, Pap Finn. Through Pap’s actions he becomes worthless in the eyes of young Huck. Twain uses Pap’s abusive and absurd behavior to emphasize Huck’s desison making in his transition into adulthood, and to show hope for Huck’s future. Youth, hope, and change are all the things that Huck represents and Pap is against.

Pap is what one would consider a resentful alcoholic who doesn’t believe in change of any kind. Huck is merely a child, trying to find his place in the world and form his own morals and views on life. Huck always is imaginative an likes to create make believe worlds in which everything is so interesting. Pap is like the harsh sence of reality that shows Huck a taste of the real world in contrast to his own wonderful fantasies. Huck says “Mornings, before daylight, I slipped into corn fields and borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind.

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Pap always said it warn’t no harm to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay them back, sometime; but the widow said it warn’t anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it. “(77) Pap, in telling Huck it was okay to steal, is forcing Huck to have to differentiate between right and wrong, something that Huck has never cared about before. Pap, being the stubborn selfish man he is, puts his needs before the needs of his own son. He buys alcohol with Huck’s money.

Huck says “I borrowed three dollars from Judge Thatcher, and Pap took it and got drunk and went a-blowing around and cussing and whooping and carrying on” (26). Before this Huck was hesitant to give Pap the money because he knew what consequences would arise. Pap helps Huck mature in this way because Huck is forced to think of what happens next and is exposed to the horrors of the adult world such as alcoholism. Pap states “Who told you to meddle with such hifault’n foolishness”(26) when talking about Huck’s attempts to succed in school.

This shows Pap’s closed mindedness to new ideas and his inabilities to support his own son. When Huck says “ if I never learnt nothing else out of Pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way”(147) This shows Huck as thinking of himself as independent from Pap and shows that he thinks of himself not as one of “his kind of people”. Huck has grown up enough to realize that he can create his own views on life and that there is something good to learn even in the worst of situations.

This is a big part of becoming an adult and it really shows that even though Huck was raised horribly, he has enough sense to form a steady identity. What are fathers but the fundamental basis in a young boy’s life? Huck therefore lacks the fundamental basis needed to have a healthy relationship with the world. Pap’s views are constantly imposed on Huck, which make Huck despise them in general. His father is cruel and malicious and because of this situation, Huck usually does not need to be told what to do but comes to his own decisions based on his firsthand experiences.


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