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Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1978 words - 8 pages

Before any external forces unleash their influence, a person is born into this world with a clean slate untouched by the prevailing attitudes that shape modern society. In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the character Huck is a boy who has grown up wild and for the most part free from the rules that govern the society in which he lives. Due to the unfortunate circumstances of an absent mother and a drunkard father, Huck has had the task of raising himself which has contributed to the development of his own moral code. Although there is plenty of violence and action abound in the novel, there is equal excitement to be had in the moral choices Huck encounters along his journey due to the potential danger in which his decisions consistently place him. In his novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain creates suspenseful and dramatic instances by emphasizing the internal moral struggle and danger sprung from the difficult choices his main character is forced to make.
The first dramatic instance in which Huck is confronted with a difficult moral decision occurs right after encountering Jim on Jackson’s island where he is immediately forced to evaluate his loyalties and choose a side. This is a difficult choice for Huck to make because while he values Jim’s friendship he must overcome the prevalent dismissive attitude towards black slaves that he has grown up with. In her literary critique “Huck, Twain, And The Freedman's Shackles: Struggling With Huckleberry Finn Today." professor Tuire Valkeakari of Providence college explains why this is such a difficult attitude to reverse “Huck, in turn—despite his apparent freedom—is confined by various white conventions of antebellum life, especially by his society’s axiomatic assumptions of white superiority and black inferiority” (Valkeakari) While Huck holds no direct malice towards Jim, because of his position as a slave and Huck’s conditioning from growing up a white male in the south, he is hesitant to consider Jim as an equal or entitled to his freedom because of both the physical danger and moral contradiction the decision implies.
The protagonist is faced with another difficult decision further on as he and Jim move closer to freedom and his guilty conscience causes him to battle between what he personally feels is right and what society has taught him is correct. Huck becomes even more conflicted as he and Jim approach the city of Cairo when he reflects on what he believes to has been a poor decision on his part to assist Jim, “‘What had poor Miss Watson done to you, that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say a single word? What did that poor old woman do to you, that you could treat her so mean?” (Twain 1240) Ironically Huck now begins to consider Mrs. Watson’s feelings despite his ecstatic attitude towards being free of her care only a few days prior, in contrast, the feelings of Jim who has already helped Huck through several obstacles during their trip...

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