20 April 2017
Mark Twain’s Opinion on Religion as expressed in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there are many different characters who appear to be religious and practice religion. Mark Twain’s mostly negative opinion on religion is evident from the beginning of Huck’s story when he said, “…she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I don’t care no more about him; because I don’t take no stalk in dead people. (Twain, 12)” Mark Twain believed that religious people can have good intentions, religious people are gullible, and that religion does not correspond with being a good person.
Mark Twain believes that religious people can have good intentions. In the beginning of the book, the Widow Douglas raised Huck as if he were her son and tried to civilize him (11). She cried over Huck after he tried to leave with Tom and she called him a “poor lost lamb”. Huck recognized that she meant no harm by calling him that. Even though the widow was not the best guardian for Huck the Widow’s sister, Miss Watson, tried to teach Huck about heaven and hell and thought that it was wicked of Huck to say that he wished he was in the bad place. Another example of religious people having good intentions is when a church congregation wanted to support pirates in the Indian Ocean being converted to Christianity. People in the church crowd burst into tears after hearing the king’s story of how he was a pirate who came home after being robbed but he became a changed man who was truly happy after going to their church service. The congregation suggested taking up a collection to give to the king for that cause (141). They wanted to do a good deed by giving money to king, even though the idea was a plan to fool them. Later in the book Huck met a girl named Mary Jane and helped recover her fortune for her. Before she left, Mary Jane told Huck “…I’ll think of you many and a many a time, and I’ll pray for you, too!”. Huck thought praying for him was a difficult job but he considered what Mary Jane said about prayer and thought that she was good, beautiful, and she had more grit than any other girl he’d met (199). Mark Twain emphasized good aspects of religious people such as them having good intentions but also what he believed to be their bad qualities.
Mark Twain believed that religious people are very gullible. There are several points throughout Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where characters who are religious were very easily tricked, and they believed lies that other characters told them. A character who is portrayed as very gullible is Aunt Sally. Tom and Huck stole from her house while staying there and Aunt Sally believed Tom’s alibi when he was busy reading Acts...