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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

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How does Mark Twain use direct characterization to depict Huck?

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Twain directly characterizes Huck by letting him narrate his own story. This technique is known as first-person narrative. In this way we are always aware of Huck's thoughts and feelings, as well as the events which he describes. He reveals what kind of person he is; we see his innocent puzzlement and also abhorrence at many of the events, actions and ways of the society that surrounds him. Most tellingly, he shows his basic human decency is recoiling from the evils of slavery, when he helps the fugitive Jim. He even feels sympathy for the despicable king and duke when they are persecuted near the end of the story. Thus through the character of Huck we see a basic, instinctive, and childlike goodness which is at odds with the generally negative picture of society in this novel.

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