Uploaded by Fleali on Sep 07, 2000
Huckleberry Finn provides the narrative voice of Mark Twain's novel, and his honest voice combined with his personal vulnerabilities reveal the different levels of the Grangerfords' world. Huck is without a family: neither the drunken attention of Pap nor the pious ministrations of Widow Douglas were desirable allegiance. He stumbles upon the Grangerfords in darkness, lost from Jim and the raft. The family, after some initial cross-examination, welcomes, feeds and rooms Huck with an amiable boy his age. With the light of the next morning, Huck estimates "it was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too"(110). This is the first of many compliments Huck bestows on the Grangerfords and their possessions. Huck is impressed by all of the Grangerfords' belongings and liberally offers compliments. The books are piled on the table "perfectly exact"(111), the table had a cover made from "beautiful oilcloth"(111), and a book was filled with "beautiful stuff and poetry"(111). He even appraises the chairs, noting they are "nice split-bottom chairs, and perfectly sound, too-not bagged down in the middle and busted, like an old basket"(111). It is apparent Huck is more familar with busted chairs than sound ones, and he appreciates the distinction.
Huck is also more familiar with flawed families than loving, virtuous ones, and he is happy to sing the praises of the people who took him in. Col. Grangerford "was a gentleman all over; and so was his family"(116). The Colonel was kind, well-mannered, quiet and far from frivolish. Everyone wanted to be around him, and he gave Huck confidence. Unlike the drunken Pap, the Colonel dressed well, was clean-shaven and his face had "not a sign of red in it anywheres"(116). Huck admired how the Colonel gently ruled his family with hints of a submerged temper. The same temper exists in one of his daughters: "she had a look that would make you wilt in your tracks, like her father. She was beautiful"(117). Huck does not think negatively of the hints of iron in the people he is happy to care for and let care for him. He does not ask how three of the Colonels's sons died, or why the family brings guns to family picnics. He sees these as small facets of a family with "a handsome lot of quality"(118). He thinks no more about Jim or the raft, but knows he has found a new home, one...