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Huckleberry Finn : An American Literary Realism Classic - Essay Example

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Huckleberry Finn: An American Literary Realism Classic The American Literary Realism spans the period1865-1910 during the Reconstruction Era subsequent to the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. Realism rises up as a reaction to Romanticism which emphasizes on the glories of nature, the unreal, the otherworldly and sentimentality…
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Huckleberry Finn : An American Literary Realism Classic
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Huckleberry Finn : An American Literary Realism Classic

Download file to see previous pages... The realist style of writing, called verisimilitude, aims to maintain the accuracy in the narrative, excising or parodying sentimentalism. Without the veneer of embellishment, American realist authors such as Mark Twain mirror the society in which he lived by incorporating events and characters localized in that time and space. Huckleberry Finn is an American literary realism classic which accords with the attributes of the era and whose author, Twain, wields language and explores self-determinism, the quotidian, anti-sentimentality, and social class according to realist values. In Huckleberry Finn, the language incorporated in the novel is a reflection of American literary realism. Twain meticulously researches the types of dialects spoken in Missouri, the state in which the action unfolds and has his characters employing them. The Missouri negro dialect as used by Jim, the runaway slave, the Southwestern dialect spoken by Huckleberry Finn and other versions belonging on the language spectrum in the novel. Some of the characters in Huckleberry Finn are not highly educated, therefore, instead of putting standard English in their mouth –which would be incongruous, Twain has them conversing with one another as they usually would in broken English. This linguistic technique enhances the virtues of American realism which strove to preserve the real and the quotidian. American literary realism promotes self-determinism so that characters act according to their own dictates, as the captains of their own destinies. Self-determinism is the theory which affirms that an individual has the capacity and right to choose and make his own destiny. To all individuals belongs a free will or the unique ability to control their actions. Free will is directly connected to two other vital philosophical concepts: freedom of action and moral accountability. In other words, a person who has free will is able to choose his or her route of action without coercion. Huckleberry Finn is a novel championing self-determinism. At the beginning, Huckleberry Finn lives with a widow in whose home he begins to become civilized. Accustomed to the wild street life however, he decides to leave the home and venture out on his own. Although a mere teenager, Huckleberry Finn makes key decisions which steer his life toward a path. He says, “I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it.” He refuses to be governed by force or by anyone else as in the case of his drunken father under whom he suffers abuse, exploitation and imprisonment. Even Jim, Huck’s best friend, decides for himself that he wants to be a free man, running away from slavery. Set in 19th century American society, Twain manages to surround characters by ordinariness and routine life. The characters’ everyday conversation, errors, pursuits and expectations pervade Twain’s novel. Characters of Huckleberry Finn do not escape the commonness of their own background, consequence and existence- where everyday life and the quotidian are the order of the day. Another element of American literary realism is the quotidian – the portrayal of the ordinary or the everyday. Twain pens Huckleberry Finn in such a manner that one can trace the daily chores, the domestic and work life of the characters in the Missouri during the time just before the Reconstruction Era. The tales of slavery, the farming activities, the household duties, school life and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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