Feminist Perspective On Huckleberry Finn

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The feminist perspective focuses on the values of the society in which it was written in and how those values are reflected in literature. It emphasizes power and gender issues in a text. Mark Twain portrays feminism throughout the novel of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In this novel Huck Finn runs away from society along with his slave friend, Jim, to experience adventures together on the Mississippi River and help Jim to his freedom. Along the way they meet some new people and get into serious trouble, but they succeed in the end. In the novel of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses social relationships and family to help understand the roles of the powerless characters by displaying their vulnerability in society. Women…show more content…
She is used to civilize Huck (the young generation), raise him and make him proper. For example, Huck describes Miss Watson, "…a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on… took a set at me now, with a spelling book. She worked on me middling hard for about an hour… I couldn't stood her much longer." (Twain, 2). Miss Watson was unmarried and so she was forced to stay at home and care for family members and selflessly devote her time and energy into helping others benefit. Another example, “Don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry- why don’t you try to behave?” (Twain, 2). Miss Watson helps Huck benefit by trying to teach him good behavior and religion (Feminist Lens on Huckleberry Finn). Miss Watson’s weakness is her being a social outcast and living in the shadows of others. In society, she is portrayed to making others feel uncomfortable around her (this includes Huck and Jim). Another important woman in Huckleberry’s life is Widow Douglas. She is also the major caretaker of Huckleberry Finn, but very different from Miss Watson. The Widow is gentle in her teachings on civilizing Huck, and he respects her for this reason. Widow Douglas and Miss Watson are essentially the “parents” of Huckleberry. Because Mark Twain portrays Widow Douglas as gentle and sensitive (motherly figure) and Miss Watson as a strict, and at times frightening (fatherly figure). Huckleberry Finn constantly worries if the Widow will be disappointed in his behavior (much like how a son doesn’t want to disappoint his mother). "Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and wasn't clean, and I must try to not do it anymore" (Twain, 2). The main function of Widow Douglas is to civilize Huck and decide what is best for him (Feminist Lens on Huckleberry Finn). And nothing else was expected out of women, especially a widow, since she didn’t have a husband to

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