In few areas was the takeoff of romanticism more evident than with classic works of literature that were created during the early twentieth century.
One of books where romanticism is brought to light is Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In many of Twain’s works, his view on the world comes to the forefront.In the context of the story of Huck Finn, this view of the world at large is the one thing that continually powers the story through the entire book. Through the story of two boys, Twain rejects the notion that urban sprawl is the way that everything has to be.
Instead, the boys are a beacon for freedom and personal liberty.Though this view of the world is nice for stories, it has some serious limitations, including the inability to address a changing world with any sort of realistic view. This is reflected in Twain’s work and the work of many other romantic writers.Twain’s critique of romanticism is an interesting one and it is evident throughout much of the story. The premise of his story revolves around the plight of two young men, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
While all of the other young men were stuck in school doing the things that people told them to do, Finn and Sawyer were out causing a ruckus. This is where romanticism is first presented in this book.The characters themselves stand as Romantic heroes, juxtaposed to the traditional view of what young men were supposed to be doing at the time. With industrialization a huge part of the climate when Twain was writing, young boys were expected to go through school and get a good education so that they could be successful in life.To Twain, success did not come from just learning what they told you to learn, though. It included much more than that and many of the things that needed to be learned could not be learned in a classroom.
Speaking of this, Huckleberry Finn says in the book, “Well, three of four months run along, and it was well into winter, now.I had been to school most all the time, and could spell, and read, and write just a little, and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I don’t reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to live forever. I don’t take no stock in mathematics, anyway” (Twain, p.17).In this quote, there are quite a few things that could be broken down. For one the boy makes many different mistakes, showing that he has not actually been taking advantage of the education that he is being offered.
In addition, Twain makes the admission, through the lead character, that traditional schooling was not all there was to life.