Throughout the ages The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been a treasured novel to people of all ages. For young adults the pure adventuresome properties of the book captivates and inspires wild journeys into the unknown. The book appeals to them only as a quest filled with danger and narrow escapes. It is widely considered “that children of 12 or so are a little too young to absorb the book’s complexities” (Galileo: Morrow). However, as readers mature and become older, they read the book through enlightened eyes. They begin to understand the trials and moral struggles that this young boy undergoes in resisting society, struggles that no adult would relish. This paper delves into how Huck Finn rejects the accepted moral values and social mores of his society.
Huck’s independence and freethinking are marvels in a conformist’s culture. By itself, the fact that Huck stands up for something against the then-contemporary beliefs is no significant event. The remarkable feat is that he stands up for something that he does not believe. This is a fact seldom considered by our heroic notions of Huck, because in this day and time slavery and dehumanization are abhorred by almost every ethnicity and religion. Now people attempt to conceptualize what a tragedy and terror it was for slaves. The picture is not pretty. Twain helps us with that visualization. Huckleberry Finn is known as a fairly accurate depiction of what life was like in the south. In a comparison with Tom Sawyer, Lionel Trilling says. The truth of Huckleberry Finn is of a different kind from that of Tom Sawyer. It is a more intense truth, fiercer and more complex. Tom Sawyer has the truth of honesty—what it says about things and feelings [are] never false and always both adequate and beautiful. Huckleberry Finn has this kind of truth, too, but it has also the truth of moral passion; it deals directly with the virtue and depravity of man’s heart. (258)
This assertion tells the reader that most, in that time period, did have the same views, reactions, and ethics as offered in the book. Huck is in direct opposition and retaliation with almost all of these tenets. He first demonstrates this by wishing to leave the Widow Douglas because she wants to “sivilize” him. The interesting observation is, the irony of the Widow’s attempt to teach Huck religious principles while she persists in holding slaves. As with her snuff taking—which was all right because she did it herself—there seems no relationship between a fundamental sense of humanity and justice and her religion. Huck’s practical morality makes him more “Christian” than the Widow, though he takes no interest in her lifeless principles. (Grant 1013)
Huck seems to have the inclination that something is wrong with her beliefs in God and how people should follow Him, unfortunately he “couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so [he] made up [his] mind [he] wouldn’t try for it” (Twain 13). Huck...