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The Role And Effects Of Money In The Adventure Of Huckleberry Finn

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Money is an important topic to most adults in our society. It appears to be that our lives revolve around the journey for money. Although, this mentality often only applies to adults and not children. In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain their society is focused on money. In the novel, Huck, the protagonist and Jim,who is a slave, run away from their civilized town where Jim or Huck are allowed to be free. Pap, Huck’s father, was a reason as to why Huck ran away because of the mistreatment toward him. On their journey, they meet different people including the money hungry frauds, the duke and king. In their society being wealthy identified what kind of person they were. Huck values his money and spends it with care but is not greedy. Jim’s true quest is to free his family. Throughout the novel, wealth influences Huck, Jim, Pap, and the king and duke.

Huck Finn, the protagonist, is a young boy who in fact is rich but does not believe that money is everything so he runs away from home in search of his pursuit of happiness. In the beginning of the novel, Twain clearly describes the amount of money Huck had. Huck does not like to speak about his money “yet in this novel money is always being discussed, measured, hidden, taken, paid,found, exploited” (Slattery). Since money is always being discussed in his society Huck does not care about the money. Money influences his mind because he feels like he is becoming one of the civilized folks in his town. Ever since Huck become wealthy others intended to civilize and educate him. He was unhappy and felt trapped. Huck’s money affect him negatively because he was abused by his father. Pap scream at Huck,“Looky here—mind how you talk to me; I’m a-standing about all I can stand now—so don’t gimme no sass. I’ve been in town two days, and I hain’t heard nothing but about you bein’ rich. I heard about it away down the river, too. That’s why I come. You git me that money tomorrow—I want it.” (22). Money influenced Huck in a negative way because Pap had a desire for his money which was motivated by alcoholism. Huck then decided he never did not want to be around his father and ran away leaving his money behind without hesitation. In the end, Huck learns that being free is actually what he has always wanted. Tom Sawyer, his partner in crime that helped him gain money, tells him that all of his money was there and that Huck would be adopted. Huck had another idea, “ I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before” (295). In Huck’s eyes money causes nothing but problems. Huck sees his money as a chain due to the fact that people want to make him civil. He would rather leave his money behind then be in a place where he is always being forced to be someone he is not. With Pap being dead Huck can finally be free in peace so he runs away to find his happiness and leave all the problem money created for him. Huck learned that money makes people act different and he did not want that for himself.

Money influences Jim because it is equal to freedom. Jim is a slave and with him being a slave he is worth some money. Jim was part of a corrupt industry and “…[a few] readers notice that even in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a concern for money permeates the novel and accentuates the major theme of corruption in a materialistic society” (McMahan). Jim’s true quest was to run away to become a free man and be able to buy his family out of slavery. He is not able to fulfil his quest because he is treated as a property and not a human. Money influenced Jim because he is on a quest for wealth. Jim wants to gain some money so he can buy his wife and two children out of slavery. Jim is upset that his children and wife are not “free” and he is willing to do anything to gain their freedom. Once Jim and Huck were getting closer to Cairo, Jim would talk about how “how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife” and once Jim and his wife were together “they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them.” (91-92). Jim ran away because he wanted to become wealthy enough to buy his family’s freedom. He wants to unchain his family from an unjust industry. Money would allow Jim to raise his status in society. In chapter 43, Jim reminds Huck of their previous conversation where he claimed that having hairy arms and a hairy chest composes an omen for wealth. Jim states, “I tole you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich agin; en it’s come true; en heah she is! dah, now! doan’ talk to me—signs is signs, mine I tell you; en I knowed jis’ ‘s well ‘at I ‘uz gwineter be rich agin as I’s a-stannin’ heah dis minute” (294-295). Tom believes the the omen was obtained but Jim’s sense of fulfillment emphasizes the significance of his turnaround of fortune. Although, Jim has a large amount of money, forty dollars, Jim is still part of a racist society and is somewhat still a prisoner in a figurative sense. However, Jim had a happy ending but not all characters did.

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Money had an effect on Pap. He is an excellent example of how money can be effortlessly spent. When he obtained money from Huck “he took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then he said he was going down town to get some whisky; he said he hadn’t had a drink all day”(23). Pap would make Huck give him money for his alcohol and if Huck would not he would beat him. Pap was not able to control himself so he would drink his money away. Pap was extremely greedy because all he wanted was Huck’s money. His desire for money was so strong “pretty soon the old man was up and around again, and then he went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that money, and he went for me, too, for not stopping school” (25). Pap was greedy and felt entitled to Huck’s money even though he was not there for Huck as often. Pap thought Huck did not even need the money especially not for an education. At the end, money guides his death. At the beginning of the novel, Huck and Jim found a body but they were clueless on who could it be. Huck feared to go back to town because he did not want to see Pap and believed he wasted all of his money. Tom Sawyer confirmed that Huck’s money was still there and even more. Jim reveals Pap’s destiny, “Doan’ you ‘member de house dat was float’n down de river, en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I went in en unkivered him and didn’ let you come in? Well, den, you kin git yo’ money when you wants it, kase dat wuz him” (295). Money sways Pap’s death because he was drunk and if he did not have money then he would not have purchased the alcohol. Just like Pap the King was also impacted by money.

The king and duke were influenced by money throughout the novel. The king and duke are con artists who claim to be part of royalty from France and take control of the gang. They are willing to do anything to get money. They lie and steal to get as much money as possible. The king and duke’s greed is shown when they try to run a scam at a sacred event. Once the King figures out how it worked he pretends to be a preacher “ He told them he was a pirate—been a pirate for thirty years out in the Indian Ocean… and thanks to goodness he’d been robbed last night and put ashore off of a steamboat without a cent, and he was glad of it; it was the blessedest thing that ever happened to him, because he was a changed man now, and happy for the first time in his life; and, poor as he was” (130). The King decides to make up a story that is completely false for his own benefit. He has manipulated people to give him money and feel sorry. The King was persuaded by money to ask for others to give him money. Another way the king and duke are guided by money is when they decide that they will pretend to be the Walkins in order to get Peter Walkins’ fortune. They ask a young boy that was in charge of picking up the real brothers all about what had happened and the boy explained to them that “He left a letter behind for Harvey, and said he’d told in it where his money was hid, and how he wanted the rest of the property divided up so George’s g’yirls would be all right—for George didn’t leave nothing. And that letter was all they could get him to put a pen to” (162). Later on we see that all the money influenced them to want more so the king and duke plan to leave three young girls without their father’s fortune. The initial plan was to leave with the money and sell the properties to where they would leave the girls homeless. Then, the King was brainwashed and sold Jim. He had sold Jim for “got forty dollars, and when we found him in the doggery the loafers had matched half-dollars with him and got every cent but what he’d spent for whisky; and when I got him home late last night and found the raft gone, we said, ‘That little rascal has stole our raft and shook us, and run off down the river’” (142). The king was so miserable and desperate for money, he decided to sell Jim without telling Huck. Jim did not belong to the King but he only thought of his own benefit. Although, the duke feel guilty that the king sold Jim he still tried to lie to Huck. The King was a very greedy man and the duke was often influenced by the king and money.

For the duration of the novel, money influenced main characters in negative and positive ways. The influence money had on Huck was that he did care for but he was not greedy. Money freed Jim because he was sold for forty dollars and got forty dollars. Pap drank his money away and so did the King. Money had an impact on some characters that shaped how the book was written. Huck is a rich man but does not like speaking about how wealthy he actually is. In their society, people were identified by how much money he had but for Huck having money was a luxury to him. Jim is finally a free man and was able to fully have his freedom when Tom Sawyer gave him money in order to go back with his family. Pap was an abusive alcoholic that only wanted to take away his son’s money. He wasted his time looking for ways to trapp Huck he ended up dead. The King lost his morality, if he had some when he sold Jim for forty dollars. He sold Jim so he could buy some alcohol because they were doomed.

Works Cited

  1. McMahan, Elizabeth E. “The Money Motif:Economic Implications In ‘Huckleberry Finn.’ Mark Twain Journal, vol. 15, no. 4, 1971, pp. 5-10. JSTOR, www.jrstor.org/stable/41640909.
  2. Slattery, Denis Patric. “The Via Dollarosa: Money Matters in ‘Huckleberry Finn.’” South Central Review vol. 5, no. 4, 1988, pp. 29-41. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3189048.
  3. Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Glassbook Classics, PDF file, https://content Server.asobe.com/store/books/HuckFinn.pdf.

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The Role And Effects Of Money In The Adventure Of Huckleberry Finn. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-role-and-effects-of-money-in-the-adventure-of-huckleberry-finn/
“The Role And Effects Of Money In The Adventure Of Huckleberry Finn.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-role-and-effects-of-money-in-the-adventure-of-huckleberry-finn/
The Role And Effects Of Money In The Adventure Of Huckleberry Finn. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-role-and-effects-of-money-in-the-adventure-of-huckleberry-finn/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
The Role And Effects Of Money In The Adventure Of Huckleberry Finn [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-role-and-effects-of-money-in-the-adventure-of-huckleberry-finn/
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