The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Realism and Romanticism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." This witty aphorism, although intended as a commentary on society, also reveals some of Mark Twain's beliefs about literature. By asserting that fiction must stay in the realm of possibility, Twain establishes his preference of Realism over Romanticism. Realism, a literary style which presents ordinary life in an objective and factual way, is the antithesis of Romanticism, a style which stresses imagination, emotion, and the awesome power of nature. However, despite this proclamation, aspects of Romanticism are clearly present in Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which seamlessly blends both Realism and Romanticism. These contrasting literary styles are found in the setting, characterization, and plot of the novel.

The use of vivid detail enables Twain to establish an absorbing visual setting. Although the setting is inspired by actual rivers and towns, Twain utilizes a number of Romantic techniques to convey specific aspects of the characters' surroundings. To establish Huck's familiarity and comfort with nature, Twain clearly personifies nature, a common aspect of Romantic literature:

The stars were shining, and the...

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