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Huck v Tom in Huckleberry Finn

compare and contrast Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer

In the novel, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain uses a contrast of characters to bring out the Society vs. Freedom aspect of the novel through the two characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Tom Sawyer, throughout the novel, uses rules and what is "always done in the books" to control how he and Huck do things. On the other hand, Huck goes for the simple things that help him and come the easiest to him when planning things out.
In the beginning of the novel Tom tries to start a band of robbers and brings all of his gang to a secret hide-out to sort out the details and rules that they would abide by. Tom Sawyer is always telling his little gang how they have to follow the books that he has read
`cause that is how it is done and it would not be right to do otherwise. For example, When Tom brings up the act of ransoming people, and none of the boys know what that is, they agree that they probably should take it out of the oath. Tom disagrees and says, "Why blame it all, we've got to do it. Don't I tell you it's in the books? Do you want to go to doing things different than what's in the books, and get things all muddled up?" (12). Since all the boys want to follow Tom, they keep in the part about ransoming even though they do not know exactly what it is. This brings out Tom's character as a boy that follows the rules very clearly and tries to be like society.
Also, when he tells Huck about the Arabs with all the jewels, elephants, and camels that they are going to go attack and they end up in a Sunday school picnic, Tom tries to tell Huck that they were hidden by Genies because Tom uses his imagination and romanticism. Huck tries really hard to believe him but he just cannot, and ends up just asking a lot of questions. Finally when Tom cannot answer any more he just says to Huck, "Shucks, it ain't any use to talk to you, Huck Finn You don't seem to know anything, somehow---perfect slap head" (18). Huck goes on and tries the Genie thing anyway and still it does not work, so he gives up and just thinks Tom is crazy.
Huck, on the other hand, does not follow society's way of thinking like Tom does. Huck does everything that he wants to when he wants. He lives outside, either in the woods or on his raft with Jim. The few times he does try to live and work with society he gets so worked up and confused on how people and things work, that he leaves and returns to his home with the river and nature where he feels safe. For example in the end of Chapter 18, after escaping from the Gragerford's home at the end of the fight over the feud, Huck gets back to where he is happiest on the raft and says to Jim, "...there weren't no home like a raft, after all. Other places seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft doesn?t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft" (137). In this sense Huck is the opposite of Tom and his urge to fit in with society's restrictions.
Twain shows a direct contrast in their relationship near the end of the novel when they meet up by accident at Aunt Sally's house and try to rescue Jim. Through the process of getting him free, Twain shows the reader Tom's strive to be like the books he has read by making everything extra difficult. This contrasts to Huck, who just wants to get him free and does not really care. He shows this by coming up with simple plans that would get the job done much faster but are much less daring. For example, when deciding which plan to use to set Jim free, Huck, not really caring much, just goes with Tom's idea of digging him out instead of going through the window. But when Huck asks to use shovels instead of case-knifes, which were much harder to use, Tom threw a fit and gave a little speech about how case knives were the right way to do it, and that is the way that they did it in all the books. After a while the boys both realized that case knives really hurt your hand, and Tom gave in so they could finally use a pick and shovel.
In conclusion, Twain uses the relationship between the boys to bring out the differences between society and their romanticist ideas and Twain's, or Huck's, realist ideas. Which in all of these instances turned out to be the better choice of the two. Twain makes many other comments towards these romanticist ideas through out the novel, but they seem to be brought out the most through the relationship between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

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