Essay Prompt 2: Huckleberry Finn What is an ending? C. Joybell C. once said, “Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren't really an ending; some things are never-ending.” The purpose of a novel is to answer a question or explain the reasoning behind something that the author believes is true, but occasionally an author learns that his answer or explanation does not suffice. He or she is left with either no solution or an unacceptable solution that cannot be explained. This is true of the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where Mark Twain’s story ends in a devastating way. He explores the minds of different characters trying to imagine a world of equality, and finds that the story he hopes for does not yet exist. Hemingway was incorrect when he wrote that the novel ended when Jim was taken from Huck. While Mark Twain knows that his ending is unsatisfactory, he uses it as a part of his larger argument: the definition of a man’s “freedom” is degraded after the Civil War and the antebellum period. He wants his readers to feel very uncomfortable with the ending of the story so that they can understand the unjustness of the time he was living in. One must look towards the beginning of the novel to ask what the author’s purpose is. In the first chapter Huck thinks, “Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that’s on its mind and can’t make itself understood, and so can’t rest easy in its grave and has to go about that way every night grieving.” (16) The “ghost”, or Mark Twain, wants to tell the reader of a world where a white man and a black man can get along, but can’t “make itself understood”, or think of a world like that in the time he is living in, so, in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain is exploring if a white men and a black men can get along and treat each other equally as human beings.
Mark Twain explores within the minds of Huckleberry Finn and Jim as they are traveling down the Mississippi river. Throughout the story, Mark Twain discovers that the answer to the question that he is asking is two-fold. White men are able to get along with black men, but the ideals of a united, racist, society restricts the possibility of true equality between them. The interactions between Huck Finn and Jim on the river and island are mostly reciprocal and friendly. Huck treats Jim as a human being. “I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way.” (95) However, Huckleberry is always fighting against his conscience and questioning whether his relations between Jim are just in the eyes of society, God, and himself. He eventually tells himself that he does not care what society and God thinks and he will do what he believes is right. Huck says, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell.” (223) As Huckleberry Finn reaches the land and meets society, he is constantly reminded that what he is doing is wrong. The further south Huckleberry travels, the more chaotic and worse society becomes. Unfortunately for Mark Twain, society restricts the possibility of an equal life between white and black men when Tom reveals that Jim was a free slave before he and Huck were trying to break Jim out.
The ending of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is important to its theme because Tom Sawyer and the white, southern, society treats Jim as if he was not an equal to them, even after they found out that he was a free slave. Aunt Sally asks Tom, “Then why on Earth…