George Saunders' glowing critique of Mark Twain's American classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, analyzes the viciously satiric nature of the novel as well as a character analysis of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and a slave, Jim.
Huck grows to have a human understanding and appreciation of Jim. Practically unheard of as well as being looked down upon by nearly half of an entire nation, he looks out for Jim's safety, looks forward to his trip to Hell for covering for a slave, and views Jim as a friend. Huck has faith in reality, and while he lies sometimes, he does it for survival and entertainment secondly. He understands the real life Tom acts as the foil to Huck; he is the master manipulator, story teller, and fiend for thrilling (mis)adventure. When he meets with Huck and Jim, he omits the fact that he has the ability to get them both out of danger, and instead "believes what he has read in books...in the concepts that have arisen from what he has read..."(Saunders, 202). This begs the question, still relevant in 2017: Is America a more Tom-like nation or one with more Huck-like features?
Due to the current state of American politics as well as the thin line between patriotic and nationalistic that facade many of the nation's ideals and culture, America seems to be at a point of more Tom-like condition. The deceit that the American government can utilize to purposefully sway the population a certain direction. It's almost an anything goes deal, despite the constant and committed fact checking, calling out, and exposure of blatant and flamboyant lies. In a sort of patriotic, thrill seeking delusion, it is how America is currently in a more Tom state of existence.
Obviously, being more of a Huck would be more beneficial as a country, minus the white-trash, nonchalant racism, of course. Americans, and people in general, should realize that being more of an open-minded, willing to change human being is more progressive and current. Huck demonstrates an unprecedented empathy and care for a black man, nevertheless an escaped slave.
As Huck's ideals and values were demonstrated in the Antebellum America, and it would be extremely beneficial to the country if the people, leaders, and all the population decided they would want to be a little more like Huckleberry Finn.