Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in Huck Finn and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement for Huckleberry Finn. These thesis statements offer a short summary of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Huck Finn by Mark Twain, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1 : The Character of Jim and the Anti-Slavery Theme in Huck Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is absolutely relating a message to readers about the ills of slavery but this is a complex matter. On the one hand, the only truly good and reliable character (and the only one who is free of the hypocritical nature other white characters are plagued by) is Jim who, according to the institution of slavery, is subhuman, thus one has to wonder about the presence of satire in “Huck Finn”. Furthermore, Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn after slavery was made illegal and the choice to set this story in a time when slaves were still held is significant. What truly makes this thesis statement about race and slavery in Huck Finn complex is that there are still several traces of some degree of racism in the novel, including the use of the “n” word (although in Twain's time it was not quite the contentious word it is now with the loaded meaning) and his tendency to paint Jim in some ways that fit the stereotype of a slave (superstitious, consenting, etc.) Despite these issues, for this essay on Huck Finn, argue that the character of Jim as the only righteous and honest character in a sea of white characters who are all greatly flawed proves that Twain wanted to show that despite the “civilized” nature of white society, it is not perfect and slavery, which denies human rights, is a hypocritical institution. For this essay, performing a character analysis of Jim will be vital.Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2 : Dark Themes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after receiving a great deal of critical and public success from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer but there are several marked differences between Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as texts. When making a comparison between Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer one almost immediately notices the darker themes and motifs in Huck Finn. Certainly, one could argue in an essay that this was in part due to the tragic path of Mark Twain's life (which just kept getting worse after Tom Sawyer was published) and whether you want to take a biographical approach to this essay or not, you can easily make the argument that there are many dark themes this text addresses. Pap is abusive and drunk, Huck is alone in the world and is stifled by others rather than cared for, families engaged in rivalry actually kill one another, conmen and other criminals abound and generally speaking, the world Huck Finn lives in is a scary place. While there were some darker themes in Tom Sawyer as well, look to the several examples of the dark world Huck lives and in this argumentative essay on Huck Finn, examine the dark themes of slavery, abuse, and dishonesty and decide what Twain was trying to relate in the novel, keeping in mind it is from the viewpoint of a young boy.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3 : Good Intentions and Huck Finn
Throughout the novel by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there are countless characters who are filled with the best intentions but are generally not doing the best thing for Huck Finn. Judge Thatcher wants to improve the moral condition of Pap (which, of course, backfires and only allows him to torment Huck further) Miss Watson wants to give Huck a “sivilized” upbringing but only suppresses his nature and makes him miserable, and the Phelps family wants to “do the right thing” and return Jim to his owners. The problem with all of these characters is that they are limited by their own view of what is best for others and tend to completely overlook the harm to do others, most notably Huck and Jim. For this argumentative essay on Huck Finn and the role of good intentions, consider how the desire to do the right thing actually points to the hypocrisy of some characters or how good intentions only serve to work against Huck and Jim.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 : Huckleberry Finn and the Notion of Being “Sivilized”
Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there is a strong attempt on the part of those who are important in white society to get Huck to conform to certain standards or to attain traits of a civilized person. Miss Watson and Widow Douglass try to give Huck the clean upbringing that a character such as Tom has but this creates a problem because Huck Finn lacks the fundamental basis for having much of a reason for any of these marks of civilization. His father is cruel and malicious and because of his situation, he generally does not need to be told what to do but instead comes to his own decisions based on his firsthand experiences. The most important aspect of this thesis statement about what it means to be “sivilized” in Huck Finn is that the white characters who seek to “improve” him are not always the best people. In other words, Huck is given nothing but contradictory ideas about what kind of boy he should be. For this thesis statement and essay on Huck Finn, perform a character analysis of Huck in which you look at his reaction to influences trying civilize him versus influences that teach him about life from first-hand experience.
For additional help, be sure to read the following articles. They should help you develop new thesis statements and expand upon those listed here: Class and Satire in “The American” by Henry James and “Huck Finn” by Mark Twain and
Religious Hypocrisy in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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Huckleberry Finn – Religious Hypocrisy
Every so often a piece of literature is written that can question the beliefs of millions of people with what they hold to be true. Nothing is held to be truer than the feeling of righteousness, being faithful, morally pure, and the idea of an exalted higher purpose- religion. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn questions this truth. Indirectly, Mark Twain argues and criticizes the great deal of religious hypocrisy the American culture faces. Through the masterful use of satire and anecdote, the author conveys his repulsion to the dishonest church goers and religious practices, often cloaked behind a veil of humor.
Mark Twain uses mountains of satirical imagery to help carry his theme. I took up, and held it in my hand. I was trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. As a runaway boy, Huck Finn has the painstaking choice of doing the right thing to write a letter to the owner of a runaway slave and tell where the slave was, or go to hell if he helps the slave Jim, his friend. Morally, Huck is taught to give Jim in, but he sacrifices himself to take up wickedness again and steal Jim out of slavery. Defying his religious teachings, ironically, Huck does the most Christ like thing.
Mark Twain creatively puts in incidents that the reader can infer to represent religion and the church followers who refuse to learn the teachings. Another time, when Huck talks to a skiff with two men in it with guns looking for runaway slaves, he lies to stop them from searching his raft and finding Jim. He tells them that his pap got smallpox, and he needed their help to move the raft. The guys who were so concerned to rave through the raft are making excuses not to. Now we're trying to do you a kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us. The men don't want the smallpox so they feel sorry for Huck and they give him a twenty-dollar gold piece each. The men symbolize the church followers who solve any problem they have by giving money to the church and believing that they solved the problem but in reality only ran away from it.
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Religious Hypocrisy Mark Twain Huckleberry Finn Use Of Satire Runaway Slave Raft Followers Talks
When the author illustrates a comical event in the novel, sometimes there is a hidden message craving to be let out. He dressed Jim up in...a long curtain-calico gown, a white horsehair wig and whiskers; and...painted Jim's face and hands and ears and neck all over a dead, dull solid blue. The thieves, the king and duke, make a new disguise for Jim so nobody will see him as a slave and they wrote out a sign that read Sick Arab- but harmless when not out of his head. Jim had to fetch a howl or two like a wild beast to be kept alone. Twain put this in to show how the Christian church felt about people from a different country and religion, while preaching tolerance. Another incident showing the hypocrisy in a similar way is when Tom persists Jim to play a jew's harp to attract rats, and the snakes, and spiders. And they'll just fairly swarm over you, and have a noble good time. The audience can infer and symbolize that the Christian church preaches that snakes, the devil, will engulf anyone who tries to play the jew's harp, are Jewish.
The faithfulness of the church followers is questioned with the family feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons. On a Sunday morning, the two families attend a church sermon carrying guns. It was pretty ornery preaching- all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon... and had such a powerful lot to say about faith. The two families prove to be all talk and no action because the "brotherly love" results in the death of the whole Grangerford clan by the Shepherdsons. This incident puts into question the thought of how people really live the gospel principals they are taught.
Mark Twain, in the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, brings to surface the religious hypocrisy in American culture. Satirically, the author questions the religious practices, traditions, and how followers bring the gospel into their homes. Religion should play a pivotal role in your life, but when finding the right one, you need to evaluate the positive as well as the negative teachings and make a decision based on them.