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Leave The Law Alone Essay

861 words - 4 pages

Vigilantism is the act of an individual imposing what he sees as justice on others. While this may seem noble, vigilantes are often misled, and end up corrupting what they wish to preserve. Mark Twain’s prolific novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, clearly displays the corruption of justice that takes place when vigilantes roam free. Vigilantism is responsible for unneeded violence, poorly constructed punishments, and the belief that violence is the only answer.
In his story, Twain attacks the unneeded violence that vigilante’s use. During his time with the Grangerfords, Huck witnesses problem first hand. The Grangerfords are entwined in a fatal feud with the Shepherdson family. When ...view middle of the document...

While Huck still lives with the Grangerfords, Huck asks Buck about the origins of the feud. Buck answers by saying “Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago” (108). The fact that Buck doesn’t know what he’s fighting for shows how little thought he has given to the whole situation. Buck’s obliviousness shows how he hasn’t given much thought to whether or not he should be killing in the name of the feud. Later, the lack of thought given to vigilante punishments becomes even more prevalent. When Huck visits a town, he sees a man named Sherburn shoot another man in cold blood. To punish Sherburn, a mob attempts to lynch him. When they get to his house, Sherburn says that the mob doesn’t scare him because they are “cowards”. After a long speech explaining this, “the crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all aparts, and went tearing off every which way,” (147). The crowd thought so little about how they were going to punish Sherburn that a few words attacking them completely destroys their will. Since vigilantism is allowed, punishments which are given so little thought that the people using them aren’t fully devoted to the idea can be employed. If a small speech can change an entire mobs mind about a punishment, it’s abundantly clear that the punishment was given very little thought. Twain shows that vigilante punishments are often poorly constructed or given little thought.
Vigilantes often become ignorant to the fact that violence is not the only answer. When...

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