Contrast and compare Tom the city boy with Huck the realist. Focus your contrast on Tom’s attitude toward Jim vs. Huck’s attitude toward Jim.A major theme in the novel is illusion vs reality....

Contrast and compare Tom the city boy with Huck the realist. Focus your contrast on Tom’s attitude toward Jim vs. Huck’s attitude toward Jim.

A major theme in the novel is illusion vs reality. Focus also on Tom’s gang’s concept of violence and the real violence that Huck faces in the shack at the hands of Pap.

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although they are friends, Huck and Tom absolutely see the world from different perspectives.

Huck is realistic in that he is very plain and down-to-earth.  He is not a fan of education or reading.  He does not come from a family where everything is perfect.  He does not have lots of extended family in aunts, uncles, and the like. He has a drunken, violent father from whom he flees. The world for him is catch-as-catch-can...in other words, he's on his own and it's every man for himself.  Living in this sort of reality tends to ground a person and make him realize what is and what isn't important.  Huck is the best choice for illuminating the faults of slavery and the prejudicial attitudes toward black people.  He and Jim are truly friends without color by the middle and end of the book.

Tom, on the other hand, is a reader.  He loves to read and his imagination shows it.  The plans and the gangs they come up with where Tom is involved are all sorts of overdone (take the plan to help Jim escape from his captives after the Duke and King sold him, for instance).  Tom's life is about as perfect as it gets.  He has a family and an extended family.  He is not poor, and is used to wearing clothes, eating indoors at tables with utensils, and has been exposed to the finer things in life.  His life is romanticized, and because of this, Tom is not as grounded as Huck.  To Tom, Jim is just another slave.

Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question