It is through literary device that the journeys these characters make towards self awareness becomes clear. First, the journey is always aided by the actions of a secondary character, who is used to push the main character towards change. Second, the authors use a coming to consciousness theme, in which the character suddenly realizes something about themselves that severely alters their self-awareness. Third, the change to self-awareness significantly alters the path of the novel, leading the reader to recognize that this change was not just an internal coming to consciousness, but a life-altering event. Through these three literary devices, the author is able to make clear the increased self-awareness and new beginnings of the novel's protagonist.
Each protagonist makes their way to self-awareness from a very different point. For Emma, the journey to self-awareness is not an easy one. As the town matchmaker, Emma makes it her business to help everyone else find a soul mate, while insisting that she is not interested in marriage. It is not until late in the novel that she realizes that her meddling has harmed her friends. For Asher, the journey to self-awareness leads him to recognize a conflict between his religion and family, and his artwork. This journey teaches him that he must value who he is, and the statement he must make, even though it may not be the easiest choice. Huckleberry Finn, or Huck, has a very different journey than Emma or Asher. He is still a child, still learning what society expects of him, and has to learn that society's values, and his own values may not always be in agreement, and that he must learn to trust himself.
For each protagonist, there is a secondary character used to help them make the step into self-awareness. In Emma, that character is Mr. Knightley, who tells her that she should not meddle. Indeed, Emma herself realizes that he is right not to meddle "She had many a hint from Mr. Knightley and some from her own heart, as to her deficiency" (Austen 111), but is afraid to recognize the repercussions of her understanding. However, Mr. Knightley continues his quest to stop Emma from meddling, and eventually gets through to her consciousness.
For Asher, his secondary character is well known artist Jacob Kahn, who becomes the primary external influence in his life and teaches him that his art must be a part of who he is. His art leads him to break rules of his religion and to ignore the values that he had been taught by his family and religion. While he teaches Asher to be true to his art, he also tries to teach him to be true to himself. He reminds Asher "Asher Lev, an artist who deceives himself is a fraud and a whore. You did that because you were ashamedAsher Lev, an artist is a person first" (Potok 257). Asher has to realize that his art, and his religion are both a primary part of who he is, and find a way to connect the two to be truly himself.
For Huck, the youngest of the three protagonists, it is Jim who plays the most influential role in his change. Jim is a black slave, who, while Huck has always been taught that slaves are nothing, Huck can not help but respect, which makes him question the whole concept of slaves being no better than animals. However, living with Jim teaches Huck that