How is Huck Finn a flawed protagonist? Is he reliable?

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One could argue that Huck Finn is a flawed protagonist because he experiences self-conflict and struggles to decide whether to follow his heart or adhere to society's conventions. Growing up in the Old South before the Civil War, Huck Finn is significantly influenced by his upbringing to view black people as possessions. He is astonished to discover that Jim ran away and contemplates turning him in.

Huck does not simply follow his conscience; he considers himself a criminal because he is helping a runaway slave. As a naive, immature adolescent, there are also times when Huck lacks sympathy for Jim and purposely tricks him to entertain himself. Huck takes advantage of Jim's ignorance and compassion but feels remorseful after making him upset.

Huck's flawed nature is emphasized when he contemplates turning Jim into the authorities as a runaway slave. However, Huck decides to follow his conscience by making up an elaborate story to save Jim. Huck's harsh criticism of himself for saving Jim highlights his inner conflict. Huck also lacks initative and idly stands by as Tom Sawyer complicates the entire situation.

One could also argue that Huck is an unreliable narrator because of his naivety and innocence. Huck continually misreads situations and misunderstands the implications of racism. His innocence significantly contributes to Twain's satire and creates dramatic irony as the audience recognizes situations that are foreign and perplexing to Huck.

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