Huckleberry Finn - Superstitions

Narrative Voices in Huck Finn- Huckleberry Finn provides the narrative voice of Mark Twain?s novel, and his honest voice combined with his personal vulnerabilities reveal the different levels of the Grangerfords? world. Huck is without a family: neither the drunken attention of Pap nor the pious ministrations of Widow Douglas were desirable allegiance. He stumbles upon the Grangerfords in darkness, lost from Jim and the raft. The family, after some initial cross-examination, welcomes, feeds and rooms Huck with an amiable boy his age. With the light of the next morning, Huck estimates "it was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too"(110). This is the first of many compliments Huck bestows on the Grangerfords and their possessions. Huck is impressed by all of the Grangerfords? belongings and liberally offers compliments. The books are piled on the table "perfectly exact"(111), the table had a cover made from "beautiful oilcloth"(111), and a book was filled with "beautiful stuff and poetry"(111). He even appraises the chairs, noting they are "nice split-bottom chairs, and perfectly sound, too--not bagged down in the middle and busted, like an old basket"(111). It is apparent Huck is more familar with busted chairs than sound ones, and he appreciates the distinction. Huck is also more familar with flawed families than loving, virtuous ones, and he is happy to sing the praises of the people who took him in. Col. Grangerford "was a gentleman all over; and so was his family"(116). The Colonel was kind, well-mannered, quiet and far from frivolish. Everyone wanted to be around him, and he gave Huck confidence. Unlike the drunken Pap, the Colonel dressed well, was clean-shaven and his face had "not a sign of red in it anywheres" (116). Huck admired how the Colonel gently ruled his family with hints of a submerged temper. The same temper exists in one of his daughters: "she had a look that would make you wilt in your tracks, like her father. She was beautiful"(117). Huck does not think negatively of the hints of iron in the people he is happy to care for and let care for him. He does not ask how three of the Colonels?s sons died, or why the family brings guns to family picnics. He sees these as small facets of a family with "a handsome lot of quality" (118). He thinks no more about Jim or the raft, but knows he has found a new home, one where he doesn?t have to go to school, is surrounded by interior and exterior beauty, and most importantly, where he feels safe. Huck "liked that family, dead ones and all, and warn't going to let anything come between us"(118). Huck is a very personable narrator. He tells his story in plain language, whether describing the Grangerford's clock or his hunting expedition with Buck. It is through his precise, trusting eyes that the reader sees the world of the novel. Because Huck is so literal, and does not exaggerate experiences like Jim or see a grand, false version of reality like Tom Sawyer, the reader gains an understanding of the world Mark Twain created, the reader is able to catch Twain?s jokes and hear his skepticism. The Grangerford's furniture, much admired by Huck, is actually comicly tacky. You can almost hear Mark Twain laughing over the parrot-flanked clock and the curtains with cows and castles painted on them even as Huck oohs and ahhs. And Twain pokes fun at the young dead daughter Huck is so drawn to. Twain mocks Emmeline as an amateur writer: "She warn't particular, she could write about anything you choose to give her to write about, just so it was sadful"(114). Yet Twain allows the images of Emmeline and the silly clock to deepen in meaning as the chapter progresses. Emmeline is realized as an early portent of the destruction of Huck?s adopted family. The mantel clock was admired by Huck not only for its beauty, but because the Grangerfords properly valued beauty and "wouldn?t took any money for her"(111). Huck admired the Grangerfords? principles, and the stake they placed in good manners, delicious food, and attractive possessions. But Huck realizes in Chapter 18 that whereas the Grangerfords may value a hand-painted clock more than money, they put little value on human life. The third view of the Grangerford?s world is provided by Buck Grangerford. He is