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Troublesome To Do Right, Discusses The Morality Of Huck In "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn" By Mark Twain

1365 words - 5 pages

Troublesome To Do RightWith his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was able to poke, prod, and cast doubt on the society he grew up in. But he did it subtly, through the eyes of a child. When Huck questions something, it is Twain's unobtrusive way of pointing out the moral flaws of his society. And more specifically, "The dynamic theme throughout [The Adventures of] Huckleberry Finn is the unresolved dialectic between the moral responsibility of the individual, and the morality of the society through which he moves and against which he must function."(Sims) Throughout the novel we see the way Huck responds to different moral conflicts such as; the relation of master to slave, the strife between two families, and his own inability to conform to a certain set of ideals.The novel takes place in Missouri near the Mississippi River, and it tells the story of a young boy and a runaway slaves trip to freedom. Huckleberry Finn runs away from his father who is trying to relieve him of a small fortune. And Jim runs away from his owner Miss Watson. In Miss Watson's case, she promised Jim she wouldn't sell him away from his wife and children. But when a slave trader offered her eight hundred dollars for him, she weighs her promise against the lure of complacency, and agrees to the man's terms. Modern thinking would deem this immoral but the society of Huck's time would agree with her choice, because during that time breaking a promise to a black man was not something to feel guilty about. However to Jim and Huck her actions felt wrong, but not altogether unexpected, since the idea of slavery is ingrained in the way they think. In the eyes of her community Miss Watson could do no wrong, she was a good, honest, God faring woman. So naturally when her personal morality could not stand up to the strain of societies pressures, she conformed. For Miss Watson it is perfectly acceptable to a have a personal code of ethics, but when they might interfere with the norm of society they are easily dropped. Therefore her actions towards Jim are acceptable because they hold no moral consequences for her. She can break a promise vitally important to Jim, a black man, without repercussions from her friends, peers and superiors. And although Miss Watson seems to be a pawn of society she actually represented a great deal of the slave holding population.In every society there are a myriad of micro societies. One prominent in this novel is centered on the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, two feuding families who can barely remember what started the feud in the first place. Huck comes in contact with them when his raft is destroyed and he is separated from Jim. At first the Grangerfords are wary of Huck, but as soon as they ascertain he is not a Sheperdson they welcome him into their home with a warm welcome. With this family Huck observes behavior that is totally alien to him. For instance when they go to church, every man brings his gun, they listen to a...

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