Over the centuries, people have been subconsciously shaping their outlook based on the belles-lettres works they read. Such an impact then, somehow, creates a circle where authors, reflecting their surroundings, shape the surroundings of the future by influencing young minds. One of the books that can have a tremendous impact on an adolescent is Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. While practically every American is familiarized with major events taking place in the story, quite a few returns to the book years after the reading to reflect upon its imagery. One such hidden image concerns the women’s role in Finn’s life and their general lifestyle pattern of the time.
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In order to analyze the issue, the character of the widow, being depicted at the very beginning of the novel, will be considered. Mark Twain, to describe Finn’s daily routine, writes: “She [the widow] put me in them new clothes again…The widow rang a bell for supper, and you had to come to time” (Twain 6). From the passage, one may conclude that a woman’s role, in this case, is limited to taking care of a child, intending no descriptions of the widow’s life besides bringing up a kid. Just like the widow, most women present in the novel abide by accepted gender roles of the 19th century, being unable to become a part of intelligent social class.
The only exception from the pattern seems to be Emmeline Grangerford, who is surprisingly skillful and intelligent in a way uncommon for other women. Her image can be even perceived as the first step towards a great shift in the female lifestyle of the future. Thus, the role of the women in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is limited to the reality of the late 19th century, when the movement for their rights of having equal educational, financial, and moral rights was only in its genesis.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Planet eBook, 1885. Planet eBook, Web.