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Compare Tom, the Romantic, to Huck, the Realist. What is Twain's opinion of Romantics?

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jethanner1209 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:34 AM via web

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Compare Tom, the Romantic, to Huck, the Realist. What is Twain's opinion of Romantics?

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yaday | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM (Answer #1)

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Twain's use of satire in the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, suggests a strong distaste for the genre of Romanticism.   At the end of Chapter 3, Huck mentions not being able to conjure up any presence of magical genies, and he says, "So then I
judged that all that stuff was only just one of Tom
Sawyer's lies. I reckoned he believed in the A-rabs
and the elephants, but as for me I think different. It
had all the marks of a Sunday-school"(Chapter 3).   By comparing this idea of role playing/ fantasy which Tom is so adamant about, to Sunday-school suggests how irrelevant and absurd it truly is.   Huck, who comes from a gritty background, is a realist who does not connect with the Romantic literature world which Tom loves so dearly.  Basically, an orphan, Huck's reference points on life are based on his experiences of survivalism.  Tom creates an elaborate scheme of robbing and killing people to capture the spirit of adventure which he has researched greatly.   Unfortunately, he has never had any personal experience with it.  

The ridiculousness of Romanticism is clearly indicated in the escape plan of Jim towards the last quarter of the novel as well.   What appears to be a simple task of escape turns into an overly done, superfluous showcase of Tom Sawyer's idealism of adventure.   

 

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