Please answer the following question based on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.Many critics of Huckleberry Finn have pointed out that the Phelps' farm episode differs in tone and seriousness from...

Please answer the following question based on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Many critics of Huckleberry Finn have pointed out that the Phelps' farm episode differs in tone and seriousness from the first two-thirds of the novel. Do you agree? Explain your answer, supporting it with evidence from the text.

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Critics definitely argue that this final episode from the novel represents an "evasion" from the main themes and development of the novel up until this stage. It is definitely very comic, as Huck seems to become a sidekick again to Tom Sawyer, and Tom insists on showing his true Romantic self by devising a ridiculous escape plan so that they can rescue Jim in the way that "all the books" say he must be rescued. One can't help but be amused at Tom's insistence that they carry out the escape plan "properly" rather than follow Huck's incredibly simple, straightforward and effective idea. Note how Tom Sawyer responds to this practical idea:

Work? Why, cert'nly it would work, like rats a-fighting. But it's too blame' simple; there ain't nothing to it. What's the good of a plan that ain't no more trouble than that? It's as mild as goose-milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn't make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory.

So it is that Tom Sawyer suggests his ludicrous plan that Jim himself has to come out of his "cell" to help with. However, whilst there is a definite change of tone, I believe it is possible to argue that there is a much more serious underlying tone going on in this final episode of the book. Note the way that Jim is treated by Tom's plan. Tom is more concerned about doing the escape "right" than he is about Jim's welfare. In particular, critics point out his cruelty in not announcing that Jim had actually been released until after he had had his fun in devising the escape plan and carrying it out. The pervasive theme of racism is still very much present even in the final chapters of this book.

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