Have you ever heard of the great Mark Twain? Many people have and recognize hisnovels by name; especially his most famous book called Huckleberry Finn.
Thegreat thing about Huck is that it was meant to be a simple book, but ended updeemed a classic. The reason for this is that it contains many great americanthemes and motifs. Many American novels, books and movies also contain thesethemes and motifs, making it very easy to compare Huckleberry Finn toPleasantville.
Although very different stories, in comparison Huck andPleasantville have the same motifs. Both the movie and the book have the motifsof going west, rebel vs. the establishment and Jim Crow/Shaman. This essay willcompare these common American motifs. The go west motif is about thecharacters running away or escaping from where they previously were (thisdoesnt necessarily have to include a trip west).
In Huck Finn the river isthe tool used to help Huck and Jim escape from their life. The river helps totake Huck and Jim away from civilization and reunite them with nature. The riveralso helps to free them from slavery, Huck being a slave to theWidow Douglas and Jim actually being Miss Watsons slave. In Pleasantville alife in colour is how the townspeople are allowed to go west. When theyare in black and white they have the perfect life, meaning that nothing can evergo wrong, therefore they can never learn from their mistakes.
When Davidintroduces the thought of thinking for themselves to the teenagers ofPleasantville they begin to notice that there are other places in the world,this begins to change things from black and white to colour. Both storiescontain the motif of going west. Another motif in these two works is the Rebelvs.
the Establishment motif. In Huck the rebel would be Huck and one of theestablishments would be the civilized people in the book. Huck refuses tobelieve that people can be so shallow and religious, and also believes that thiscomes from being civilized. The other establishment would the WidowDouglas/Miss.
Watson/Aunt Polly figure in Huck’s life. It seems he is alwaysrebelling on one of these people who are trying to civilize him. InPleasantville David is the rebel and one of the establishments is the adultpopulation of Pleasantville.
David is against the adults because he cannot getmost of them to believe his way of thinking. The other establishment is theblack and white thinking of the townspeople. David convinces most of theteen-agers to think differently than they were taught and this turns the towninto colour. Both of these stories have the rebel vs. the establishment motif.The last motif in these two works is the Jim Crow/Shaman motif, where onecharacter acts stupid or strange in society and then becomes veryintuitive in nature. In Huck, Jim is the Crow/Shaman, changing with hissurroundings.
When in society Jim acts like the Crow, and it seems natural. WhenJim and Huck go down the river Jim turns into the Shaman, and becomes somewhatsmarter and intuitive. In Pleasantville Jennifer is the Crow/Shaman, and changeswith the setting.
When the movie first starts she is the Shaman; at home shefits in and knows exactly what to do. When she arrives in Pleasantville shebecomes the Crow and acts very strange compared to everyone else. Both storiescontain characters that are both Crow and Shaman. In conclusion both Huck Finnand Pleasantville contain many similar motifs, three of them being the go west,rebel vs. establishment and Jim Crow/Shaman motifs.
Thus proves that even if thestories are very different they all contain similar motifs. The reason for thisis that people who write stories dont realize they are putting motifs intotheir work, it comes naturally from being American.English Essays