Description: This work re-assesses the heroic character of Huckleberry Finn in light of the inherent problems of discourse. Walter Ong's insights into the differences between oral and literate consciousnesses, and Stanley Fish's concept of "interpretive communities" are applied to Huck's interactions with the other characters, revealing the underlying dynamic of his character, the need for a viable discourse community. Further established, by enlisting the ideas of Ernest Becker, is that this need for community finds its source in the most fundamental human problem, the consciousness of death. The study concludes that the problematic ending of Twain's novel is consistent with the theme of community and is neither the artistic failure, nor the cynical pronouncement on the human race that so many critics have seen it to be.
Date: August 1986
Creator: Barrow, William David, 1955-
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation