Huck Finn Vs. The Odyssey Essay

Huck Finn Vs The Odyssey Essay

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In "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain, Huck considers himself to be an ignorant fool, and an over all bad person that should be looked down upon. However, through out his story, without ever realizing it, Huck manages to live through many incredible adventure, and commit selfless acts that would consider him to be a true hero. It could even be taken to the extent that Huck Finn lived a more down to earth version of Homer's "Odyssey." After all, they are both stories of a reliable person going through the biggest adventure of their lives, while facing certain types of monsters, and using their cleverness in order to escape many obstacles. The only main difference in this is the fact that while Odysseus faced more mythical challenges, Huck braved through the challenges of his modern society, and the types of people in it. But even so, one could easily say that Huckleberry Finn made almost the exact same journey as Odysseus, with a slightly modern twist. To start with, let's look at both characters reasoning behind their journeys. Odysseus began his sea bound adventure because of the fact that he was allowed his freedom from Calypso, who has been holding him captive in hopes of turning him into her husband. So Odysseus is allowed to set sale to homeland. Huck set out on his adventure because he was attempting to escape from his drunken Pap, who was holding him captive in order to get money. Huck manages to escape on a raft, and set sale. At the end of Huck's adventure, he does in fact end up in what will be his home. The two scenario's are similar for many reasons. For example, both Huck and Odysseus are being held captive for one reason or another. Calypso wanting Odysseus for a husband is just like Pap wanting Huck for his money. And to add onto this, both of them manage to escape through the use of a raft. The only difference there is the fact that Odysseus is setting sale through the seas, while Huck takes on his adventure through Mississippi River. Next in comparison between the two stories would be the use of "monsters" used through out them. In The Odyssey, Odysseus is forced into fights and challenges that largely deal with monsters, such as the Cyclops, which is a giant, single red eyed beast with the body of a human.. Odysseus is trapped with some of his men in a cave with the Cyclops, who eats several of them, and tries to kill the others. While it sleeps, Odysseus stabs its eye, which blinds the enormous beast. However it still is alive, and continues its attempts to trap and kill Odysseus and his men. Odysseus manages to fool the Cyclops with his ability to think quickly, and rides on the belly of one of the Cyclops's sheep in order to escape. Huck Finn uses similar quick thinking to overcome his own Cyclops, his Pap. This would be in chapter six, where Pap goes into a drunken frenzy, and attempts to grab Huck and kill him. During this, Huck makes several references to Pap's eyes, by saying that he is "blind drunk," (page 28), and then says, " I never see a man look so wild in the eyes" (page 28). Luckily, Pap passes out before he can kill Huck. From there, Huck grabs his Pap's gun and aims it at him, but falls asleep with out ever actually shooting it. The next morning, Pap wakes Huck, taking the gun from him, and then asks why Huck had it in the first place. Huck, through his use of quick thinking, says, " Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him," (page 30) and fools his father. These two situations compare in both Odysseus's and Huck's Odyssey for two reasons. First off, it shows their ability to think quickly in a tight situation in order to escape. Odysseus escapes by thinking to ride the sheep's belly's, where the Cyclops can't reach them, and Huck uses this quick thinking by telling his father that somebody was outside, so he had the gun in case the 'person' should attack. Next would be the heavy similarity between Huck's Pap and the Cyclops. First off, they are both locking the narrators into a space that they believe the narrators can't break free from (and in both cases, the heroes do break free). Next off would be how Huck describes his Pap's eyes, almost as if Pap were the Cyclops. When Huck says "blind drunk," it's almost a reference to the fact that Odysseus blinds the Cyclops. Another point of attention made toward Pap's eyes is when Huck says how wild they are. Also, is the fact that Pap's drunken frenzy is much like the Cyclops's savage behavior. And just to point out another fact between the two over all stories, both the situations between Odysseus and the Cyclops, and Huck and his Pap happen early on in the stories, almost as if Twain was attempting to use The Odyssey as an outline for his own story. In fact, the only major difference between the situations is the fact that The Cyclops is mythical, and Pap is a much more realistic character. Already mentioned is the fact that both Odysseus and Huck are held against their will in the beginning of their stories. Every time they manage to escape, but do end up getting trapped again later. The first time Odysseus is trapped is in the beginning of his story, where he is being held captive by Calypso, who wants to make him her husband. Although, as mentioned, this compares strongly too Pap holding Huck captive for money, it also compares to the very beginning of the story, where Huck is living with Widow Douglas, where Huck says, "…She took me in for son, and allowed she would sivilize me." (page 1) Of course, just like Odysseus was found yearning for freedom by Hermes, Huck
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