Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Creative Choice

In chapter two of Arac’s argument, the critic made a statement that really stood out to me.  I actually paused in my reading so I could take in exactly what he was trying to get at.  He wrote, “I prefer to understand Huckleberry Finn as built from highly selective artistic choices rather than simple reflections of the reality of antebellum America” (Arac 39).  The way that Twain is representing a version of Missouri that is entangled in slavery at the time, is not necessarily historically accurate.  Arac mentions that everything is a bit more simplified in the world of Huck Finn. 

For me, personally, this is a reassuring assessment.  In the previous chapter, and continuing into the second as well, Arac describes the way some readers have latched on to Twain’s work, creating ideological beliefs from it.  But the sooner we accept the fact that it is fiction work, the sooner people will hopefully stop trying to turn his work into a political statement.  Twain was not trying to be Harriet Beecher Stowe when he wrote his novel.  Since the beginning of the semester, I have held fast to the idea that Mark Twain depicts a world in a realistic manner, not offering concrete answers to life’s difficult questions via the narrator.  In my opinion, Arac’s explanations for the slight inaccuracies or inconsistencies of the real world to the novel highlight the case for Twain offering his readers an example of human relations, race relations, what have you, during a moment in time.    

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree that some readers tend to create a grandiose political statement out of Huck Finn, and I also think it’s interesting that you mention that this is still a work of fiction, albeit realistic. This is not a memoir or a first-hand account of real-life events. These are all fictional characters in a fictionalized version of American life. Arac definitely hit the nail on the head when he claimed that Twain made artistic choices when writing this novel. I really like that you call Huck Finn an example of human and race relations. This novel isn’t the end-all be-all epitome of life in the south during the 19th century. This is just one author’s depiction of it.

    I also agree that Twain’s goal wasn’t to give us the answers to life’s questions through Huck. I almost think we, like Huck, are supposed to grapple with the same tough questions ourselves.