Huck Finn Vs. 19th Cevtury Ethnics

1533 words - 6 pages

Ninetieth Century Morals vs. Huck’s Conscience

     Sometimes making a stand for what is right, especially when it is

totally against the customary beliefs of society, can never be an easy


     In the novel, The Adventures Huckleberry Finn by, Mark Twain, the

main character Huck, encounters many situations involving a question of

morality. Considering the traditional protocol of his society, Huck must

choose between his conscience or public ethics. In many cases Huck goes

with his conscience, which always proves to be proper selection. Ironically,

what Huck believes in, unapproved of in the ninetieth century, is the basis of

accepted beliefs in our modern world. Huck lives with the guilt that all his

choices could be considered immoral based on his society; yet, really his

beliefs could be just in comparison to man’s conscience. Three of the major

instances in the novel when Huck’s beliefs contrast those of the ninetieth

century are when he questions the outcome of Jim, when he tries to

comprehend the concept of the feud, and when he must decide whether to

save the men on the Sir Walter Scott.

     Although Huck’s choices concerning Jim’s life can be thought to be

the moral and proper choices, Huck is pounded by his society’s teachings the

Black men are property. When Huck first escapes from Pap and sets up

camp on Jackson Island, he finds Jim has also found refuge there from the

widow and Mrs. Watson. Huck is stunned at first when Jim tells him he

escaped, because Huck knows that Mrs. Watson owns Jim, which makes him

her rightful property. “People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and

despise me for keeping mum,”(Twain 43) Huck knows that if he helped Jim

that would make him an abolitionist, which could not be accepted role in the

ninetieth century. Huck decides that he would help Jim escape, as he would

never return to the town so it wouldn’t matter if he took Jim with him. After

a long raft-ride, Huck and Jim are finally about to reach Cairo, which on their

arrival would make Jim free. With the smell of freedom, Jim rambles on

about how he would buy his wife and then steal his children. This sets off a

spark in Huck, igniting his conscience and making him very uneasy. Huck

couldn’t believe that Jim would steal property from a man that hadn’t done

him any harm. Huck then begins feeling guilty about helping Jim escape

from Miss Watson, since she had never done anything to him and didn’t

deserve for Jim to be stolen from her. At his departure for the town, on a

mission to turn Jim in, Jim leaves Huck with these words.

     “ Pooty soon I’ll be a shout’n’ for joy, en I’ll say ,

      it’s all on accounts o’ Huck; I’s a free man, en I

     couldn’t ever ben free ef it hadn’t it ben for Huck;


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