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A Psychoanalytic Reading of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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A Psychoanalytic Reading of Huckleberry Finn


       Psychoanalytic conditions, stages and symptoms pervade the seemingly simplistic narration of a child-narrator, Huck Finn. Such Freudian psychoanalytic ideas as "Thanatos," "repressed desires" and how they seek their way back through dream work, through "parapraxis," can all find examples in this fiction. Besides, Lacanian concept of the unconscious as the "nucleus of our being," as "an orderly network," as well as his famous theory the "mirror stage" can be applied to this novel as a whole as well.


Lacan states that the unconscious, the "kernel of our being," is "an orderly network," like the structure of a language (Barry 111-113); this statement can be found true in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." In this particular picaresque of Huck*s adventures, episodes are ostensibly unrelated to each other just as most picaresque novels are. Huck Finn, however, in the unconscious of the text, follows a family pattern in which families come eventually to destruction. First take Huck*s six major lies for example. When Huck is in disguise, seeking information from Mrs. Loftus, he pretends to be a girl, Sarah Williams, whose mother is ill, and thus is on her way to get her uncle to come to help. Later, when his lie is discovered, he again invents a family in which both of his parents are dead and he is now a renegade apprentice. Next, in order to save the gang on the Walter Scott from drowning, Huck makes up a whole family including pap, mam, sis, and Uncle Hornbeck. Again, another family with pap, mam, and Mary Ann is invented in order to save Jim from slavery. And when with Grangerfords, Huck identifies himself with George Jackson and tells of the decline of a relatively ...


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...erefore explicates his final decision, justifies the ending of the novel.

Works Cited
Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory: an Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1995.
Baym, Nina, et al., ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 4th ed. New York: Norton, 1994.
Bradley, Sculley et al., ed. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: an Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Essays in Criticism. New York : Norton, 1962.
Eliot, T. S. "Mark Twain*s Masterpiece." Huck Finn among the Critics: a Centennial Selection. Ed. M. Thomas Inge. Frederick, Md. : University Publications of America, 1985.
Green, Keith, and Jill LeBihan. Critical Theory and Practice: a Coursebook. London: Routledge, 1996.
Solomon, Eric. "The Search for Security." Bradley 436-443.
Stone, Jr. Albert E. "Huckleberry Finn and the Modes of Escape." Bradley 444- 448.


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