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Society In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1700 words - 7 pages

Society in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Sometimes making a stand for what is right, especially when it is totally against the customary beliefs of your society, is not an easy accomplishment. In the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the main character Huck encounters many situations where there is a question of morality. Considering the traditional protocol of his society, Huck has to choose either what his conscience feels is right versus what the customary public views are. In many cases Huck goes with what his conscience feels is right, which always is the proper selection. Ironically, what Huck believes in, unapproved of in the 19th century, is the basis of accepted beliefs in our modern world. Huck lives with the guilt that all his choices are immoral based on his society, yet really his beliefs are the correct ones when considering man's basic goodness. Three of the major instances in the novel when Huck's beliefs contrast those of the 19th century are when he questions the outcome of Jim, when he tries to comprehend the concept of the feud, and when he has to decide whether to save the men on the Sir Walter Scott.


Although Huck's choices concerning Jim's life are 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 Jim is Miss Watson's rightful property. "People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum,"(pg.43) Huck knows that if he helped Jim that would make him an Abolitionist, which was not exactly an accepted role in the 19th 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 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; Huck done it. Jim won't ever forgit you, Huck; you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de only fren' ole Jim's got now". (pg.86-87) Hearing these words, Huck realizes how much Jim's friendship means to him and decides not to turn in Jim. ...

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