The Portrayal of Journey in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Happiest Refugee

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A journey is the act of travelling from one place to another. Physical journeys in particular involve this simple process, though a physical journey includes more than just movement. Also involved are the challenges and obstacles which face the traveller emotionally. The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, and Ahn Do’s memoir, The Happiest Refugee, both exhibit this concept of an underlying journey that lays the fundamental bulding blocks of characters. These two texts offer an insight of the emotional side of a journey. Through the use of juxtaposition and personification, symbolism is created by Twain to focus on the dissimilarity between life on the river, and life on the shore. Twain contrasts the precarious nature of the shore to the temperamental environment on the river, which provides Huck with a refuge from society. “Other places don’t seem so clamped up and smothery, but a raft don’t.” The river symbolizes the freedom of the road, the path of the journey, and the liberty to move on. In this setting the characters are given the opportunity to develop emotionally as the journey progresses. Ahn Do undertakes self-discovery in The Happiest Refugee, which tells the story of Ahn and his family as they flee Vietnam, following the Vietnam War, to find a greater quality of life in Australia. Ah Do also finds that the environment influences his emotional growth on his journey. This is revealed by visual imagery, through the use of metaphors and personification. The environment is described in a way that the audience can envisage, thus creating a visual element to the novel. "The heat of the afternoon sun clung to our skin" This use of personification adds atmosphere to the novel. It allows for readers ... ... middle of paper ... ... will react to the trials and tribulations the journey brings. By using dialogue through personal pronouns and colloquial language, the reader is familiarized with Ahn as a character and is made to feel more comfortable. Ahn uses the language of a young male who is learning English as a second language. “I will always saysing hello to you school peoples” This use of language enables Ahn to present events from an unfamiliar perspective, and gives added complexity to Ahn as a character. Ahn Do and Huck Finn both find on their physical journeys that there is an emotional development attached to the experience. One has gained a thorough understanding of the emotional aspect of a journey by studying these two texts. “The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart.” Written by Jessica Johns 2012

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