An Analysis of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a Picaresque Tale

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An Analysis of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a Picaresque Tale
A picaresque novel is based on a story that is typically satirical and illustrates with realistic and witty detail the adventures of a roguish hero of lower social standing who lives by their common sense in a corrupt society. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, is an eminent example of picaresque literature. There are many aspects of the novel that portray picaresque through the history and personality of the main character, Huck Finn. Although Huck has good intentions and is by nature innocent, he is the picaro in the story. A picaro or rogue is an unprincipled adolescent who is very mischievous in personality, also known as a rascal or scoundrel.
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Huckleberry Finn is the epitome of a wander. From the very beginning of the book when he has been taken in by the Widow Douglas he still sneaks out to wander around and sleep in the woods. In chapter IV (pg. 110 in the Norton Anthology of American Literature) the reader is first exposed to his wandering ways.
“ Living in a house, and sleeping in a bed, pulled on me pretty tight, mostly, but before the cold weather I used to slide out and sleep in the woods, sometimes, and so that was a rest to me.”
Huck’s preference of sleeping in the woods instead of a bed represents not only Huck’s un-civility and refusal to conform, but also introduces us to him as a wander, a key element in picaresque. Huck remains a wander without a destination for a good majority of the book. The entire second half of the book Huckleberry is on the river, sailing away from conformity, but with no true destination in mind. Huck is the essence of a wander, which strengthens his role as the picaro in this story.
There are several specific events and examples that occur in this novel that support The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a picaresque story. One of the first events that cast Huck as a picaro is the entrance of Huck’s father into the story. Twain could have just left Pap out, and just let the reader know that Huck was an orphan and his father was a drunk, but by bringing Pap back into Huck’s life

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