Brenden Martinez Mrs. Hoover American Literature, Section 3January 8, 2017The Stories of Twin Souls All literature is a story meant to convey or teach a lesson. Since the birth of American Literature, many great authors have written outstanding works, among them being The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain and The Soul Catcher written my Michael White.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a young boy named Huck goes on an adventure to save his only true family, a slave named Jim. In The Soul Catcher, Augustus Cain is sent to catch a runaway slave who ends up changing him and ends up falling in love with her. Huck Finn and Augustus Cain, living in a racist world, struggle to accept societal views and yearn for lives of their own choosing. Both Twain and White symbolize society’s views through Pap and Preacher to show what this society believed in, and both Jim and Rosetta face hardships because of this cruel society. Living in a world where people only see in black and white, Huck Finn and Augustus Cain struggled to break free from that societal norm of racism and subjugation and to be individuals. In the beginning of Huck Finn we see him yearning to be free from society, “The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out” (Twain 2). Huck says that the widow takes him in like her own son, he is apart of society and he furthers states it by saying she wants to “sivilize” him, to make him be how society wants him to be, but he does something interesting by spelling civilized with and s.
Huck dreads being with the widow because she is ordinary, she is regular, she is just how society wants her to be and Huck can’t stand that, he wants to be free and so he leaves. Huck knows how to spell civilized correctly but by spelling it wrong he shows that society isn’t civil, it’s wrong. Much like Cain, Huck sees how flawed this society is and when he can’t stand it he leaves. Cain, when he saw the free boy being beaten and tortured, he saw what this society was doing to his people and like Huck who left society, Cain leaves so that he is not apart of a society; in that moment and what they are doing, “Cain didn’t have the stomach for this business. He never resorted to torture to get information about a fugitive slave..
. “one dark eye locking conspiratorially on Cain, as if to say, We are not a part of all that, you and I” (White 48-49). When the boy is being tortured by Preacher, Cain can’t stand the sight of it, he can’t handle someone who he knows is free and innocent face cruelty like this. Cain, as he leaves he takes his horse with him, the horse represents everything Cain has; honor, instinct and freedom. The horse looks at him almost telling him that “we” are not part of it. Cain sees the cruelty of society and leaves just as Huck did, and when they leave, they start to free themselves from the views of that society and decide to be individuals and not follow the crowd.
Huck learned that Jim was his true family, no matter the color of his skin; while Cain learns to love Rosetta and ends up being with her because he can’t deny his feelings any longer. Another aspect of both great novels, is its portray of society through certain characters like Pap and Preacher. Mark Twain is infamous for his use of the “n” word through Huck Finn, being used 219 times in the novel. Twain does this in order to give the reader a real world experience of society during that time, one character that represents society in the novel is Pap. Pap, Huck’s father, is very racist, so much so that when he saw an African American doing better in society than him, a white man, the only way to regain his power over him was to debase and degrade him, “There was a free nigger there from Ohio—a mulatter, most as white as a white man…They said he was a p’fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything.
And that ain’t the wust. They said he could vote when he was at home. Well, that let me out. Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to..
. I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn’t too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out” (Twain 28-29). Pap a white man, sees how well an African American is doing in society and immediately gets insulted, he is apart of this racist society and thinks like them. Pap sees that blacks are just like whites but he hates it, he calls the man a “n” word to try and exude some sort of power over him by being a white man, Pap knows that the man is smarter than him, he even says it himself when he calls him a professor and speaks multiple languages. The worst thing was that he was allowed to vote, voting was a right and slaves in this society didn’t have any rights and this is what upsets him the most. Pap doesn’t contribute to society, he wants all its benefits but none of the work for it, society doesn’t need a vote from a racist man so his “drawing out” only affects him. Preacher, in The Soul Catcher, has the same exact mind set, he abuses and disrepute African Americans by calling them the “n” word and the worst thing he does is torture them.
Pap and Preacher abuse slaves, one verbally, the other physically. Preacher goes with Cain on the “hunt” for a run away slave named Rosetta, as they look for her they run into a free African American but things quickly turn and they chase down the boy for information. Preacher catches him and starts to torture him “Yeah, you. C’mere and grab hold a this here nigger’s head…Preacher took the boy’s right earlobe and stretched it away from his head until the boy cried out…The boy’s face was contorted in pain and in fear, but he didn’t say anything. Then in one cat-quick motion, Preacher swung the bowie knife and severed the earlobe.
Blood spurted out and the boy winced from the pain but somehow managed to remain silent. Preacher held the bloody piece of flesh up in front of the boy. See that, nigger. That there is only the first part of what you’re gonna lose if’n you don’t start talkin” (White 46-47). Preacher is given power in this society as slave catcher, he then uses his already corrupt power for an even more cruel purpose, torture.
Preacher calls a free man the “n” word because like Pap, he has no respect or care for them. Preacher then proceeds to take the mans ear and cut it off and to mock him, he takes it and holds it in front of him. Preacher threatens the boy by saying that if he doesn’t talk he will hurt him even more. Society gave both Pap and Preacher power as white men and they both used it to push others down. Preacher doesn’t care about what the boy feels, he sees him as just a slave and nothing more, Twain and White put characters like Pap and Preacher into the books to show us that there were people who acted just like them in order to give us a more real experience. Society in both books are flawed, what society in its right mind gives others the power to degrade and abuse people. By putting these characters in the book, it shows us that our society has to be better than what it is, that we have to improve. As well as, longing for freedom and individuality from a racist society, both Jim and Rosetta face cruelty from a society that allows it to happen just because of their skin color.
Jim was a slave who after having enough with this society runs from it and Rosetta does the same, she leaves a society that allows her own father to rape and abuse her. Tom Sawyer, who appears in Huck Finn keeps something hidden from everyone else until the very end, that upon the widows death, Jim was to be set free and when the widow died, Jim became free, but throughout the entire book Jim believed he is being hunted and Tom even plays a game with Jim’s freedom, “Well, you see, it ‘uz dis way. Ole missus—dat’s Miss Watson—she pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’ sell me down to Orleans. But I noticed dey wuz a nigger trader roun’ de place considable lately, en I begin to git oneasy. Well, one night I creeps to de do’ pooty late, en de do’ warn’t quite shet, en I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ‘uz sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’ resis’.
De widder she try to git her to say she wouldn’ do it, but I never waited to hear de res’. I lit out mighty quick, I tell you (Twain 45). Jim runs away because Miss Watson cared more about money then she did for Jim, he also says that he isn’t treated right when he is with her, he also says that there was a save trader who would be around and Jim figured out the she was going to sell him to New Orleans so after hearing this Jim runs away. Jim runs because he doesn’t want to be sold like property or be treated any different, he wants to be free from all of this and runs, like Rosetta, they both run away for get free and have a better lives.
Rosetta runs away from her father Eberly, who raped and abused her, “When he finish, he got up and pulled up his trousers. He said, ‘I didn’t want some field nigger spoiling you. Now you’re a woman, Rosetta. My woman. And don’t you forget it.
‘ Next day, he had Momma brought to the auction block in Richmond and sold her downriver…He told me he loved me, that he loved me more than anything. Huh! What he felt for me wasn’t love.
He made me feel lower than dirt. Love don’t make you feel like that. Funny thing is, it turned out he was right about one thing…feeling that I was just a piece of property. His property. Worth no more than the heel of his boot. I was fourteen when my child was born. His, though I never felt that it was.
I named him Israel, like in the Bible: ‘I arose a mother in Israel” (White 325-326). Rosetta tells Cain what Eberly did to her, her mother fought for her but Eberly sold her down river and then continued to rape his own daughter, Eberly would lie saying he loved her but made her feel lower than dirt, just as how Miss Watson lied about selling Jim. Society gave Eberly power to rape and abuse his own daughter and society gave Miss Watson power to treat Jim like nothing more than money ready to be exchanged.
Rosetta said that Eberly made her feel like property, his property, your own daughter is not your property. Jim and Rosetta lived with unkind people who made them feel horrible and they escaped by running away, both authors do this to show us how a society with people like Pap, Preacher and Eberly have power to be so cruel to others. Rosetta left because she didn’t want that life anymore, Jim left for a better life both wanting more for themselves than what society wanted for them. In reading both The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Soul Catcher the reader is able to understand a society and not only a society but an entire people’s feelings that they would not obtain from a historical stand point. You are able to take away an important lesson of respect and kindness towards others, but the most important thing that both books highlight is being yourself. All literature is meant to teach a lesson the most important lesson of these books is individuality.
Huck shows how a person can fight against a society to be themselves while Cain shows how a person can change to be themselves. The reader is able to understand a real world experience without it being real, countless times on the news we have heard of people like Jim and Rosetta escaping places and people for something better but it’s our job to be like Cain and Huck and be open to change and go against the norm for our self betterment.