The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: a Picaresque Novel

2816 Words Apr 5th, 2012 12 Pages
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been labelled as a picaresque novel. A picaresque novel is an adventure story that involves an anti-hero or picaro who wanders around with no actual destination in mind. The picaresque novel has many key elements. It must contain an anti-hero who is usually described as an underling(subordinate) with no place in society, it is usually told in autobiographical form, and it is potentially endless, meaning that it has no tight plot, but could go on and on. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has moulded itself perfectly to all these essential elements of a picaresque novel. Huck Finn is undeniably the picaro, and the river is his method of travel, as well as the way in which he wanders around with no …show more content…
Another important fact regarding the picaro as a wanderer is the notion that he will change as a result of his travels, "the main character often grows intellectually and morally through his various encounters along the path of his journey" (Bibliomania). Huck's character matures throughout the novel from that of a boy to one that can be seen as something closer to a man. Huck begins to have a conscience, which proves that he is beginning to mature because he begins to actually think about things, and care about them. Huck's maturation can be observed in the scene where he chooses to tell Mary Jane the truth about the two men posing as her uncles, "I got to tell the truth, and you want to brace up, Miss Mary, because it's a bad kind and going to be hard to take, but there ain't no help for it" (420). Huck's maturation is evident here because he can't stand to see Mary Jane and her sisters cheated of the money they deserve, and so happy because their uncles are back when in reality they're only frauds. Huck's conscience continues to bother him until he tells Mary Jane the truth, and therefore it is apparent that Huck is growing as a result of his travels because his conscience begins to affect him, forcing him to show that he is a good and kind-hearted person.
A picaro is often defined as someone who isn't very honest, or straightforward, but instead is something more of a liar. More often than not a picaro has been brought up by a