The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn And Homer 's Odyssey

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It is not difficult to at first dismiss the similarities of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Homer’s Odyssey as entirely superficial. Both are examples of the narrative pattern of The Hero’s Journey; the Odyssey presented as an epic that was so influential it birthed the entire western cannon of story telling and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written in the tradition of the Great American Novel that defined the spirit of the age in the United States. Each respective hero embarks on a journey, encounters strange places and people, overcomes the odds they are confronted with, winning the day and ultimately returning home before their next adventure (Coupe). Beneath this pattern however, lie similarities so consistent, that one cannot help but wonder, did Twain use Homer’s Odyssey as a blueprint for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? By examining the story of Huck Finn’s trip down the Mississippi through the lens of the Odyssey, I endeavor to show how the deeper similarities between these two classics not only tie them together from centuries apart, but that the influence of Homer’s epic is alive and well in Twain’s novel.
Perhaps the most important question to address first is whether evidence exists that Mark Twain ever read the Odyssey. In a piece by Patrick J. Deneen entitled “Was Huck Greek? The Odyssey of Mark Twain,” Deneen points out evidence that if Twain was not consciously aware of the similarities of between The Adventures of Huckleberry

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