In his novel, Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain infers many themes. Like John Steinbeck's The Pearl, which was a morality tale about greed, Huckleberry Finn is also a morality tale, but it is a morality tale of human connection and the power of friendship. This essay will explore the power of friendship in spite of overwhelming obstacles as a theme in the novel. Through Huck (the protagonist) and Jim, Twain unveils the human connection between a white boy and a black man and shows that their friendship is stronger than the obstacles put in front of them by the culture they live in. What is unique about this book is that Twain's own boyhood experience was when slavery was an accepted practice in the South. Twain, through a tale of friendship between Huck and Jim, paints a strong picture of the inhumanity of slavery. Three passages from Huckleberry Finn, highlighting syntax, diction, and imagery, will substantiate this theme.
Twain's uses syntax to develop the human connection between Huck and Jim from the beginning of the novel. During Chapter 8 when Huck first stumbles upon Jim, using quick and non-expressive sentences, he doesn't ask Jim why he is on Jackson's Island nor if he cares that Jim told people he's not dead. Instead, Huck reveals how joyous his is at seeing him. The short and faster paced sentences are able to show a bonding between the two even though they are from different races. At this point in the novel, Jim and Huck are showing that they are going to be together for a while. Obstacles to their friendship are shown in Chapter 11 when Huck, dressed like a woman, is told that there is a $300 reward for Jim's arrest. As Huck is being told about this, his own sentences become questions and quicker. Huck is worrying about his friend, and that is why the sentences speed up. Such syntax reveals Huck's concern for Jim despite their differences and his anxiety for his friend's safety.