Morality in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain in 1884. Twains book tackles many societal issues including slavery, racism, and morality. Throughout the book, Twain shows Huck in positions where he has to make moral choices between what he believes in and what society thinks is right. His stance on these topics is fairly clear, however his subtle nudges towards morality with Huck is what makes the moral of this novel so pure. Twains portrayal of the characters myriad of moral issues demonstrates the theme of morality in the novel.
During the first chapters of the novel Twain shows Huck making many poor judgment calls and poor moral choices. There was a myriad of instances when Huck had to face inner moral battles. Twain show that Huck has to choose between what he believes in and what is fit for society, however as the book goes on to about chapter 4, Huck makes a stand to stop an instance where he may have to lie. Huck talks to the judge and asks: Please take it, says I, and dont ask me nothing- then I wont have to lie (Hawthorne 18). Here Huck tells the judge to take his money. He asks him not to ask questions about why and to just take it so that when asked about it he would not have to lie. This shows the moral change Huck starts to possess as this story progresses.
Twain also shows an exponential growth with Huck when he and Jim run off together. Twain shows the connection that the two grow toward each other. When they find a dead man on a boat than Jim covers the body in order to hide the horrifying sight from Huck. Huck, in turn, starts to feel compassion for Jim and slaves near the end of the book. Huck tries to protect and hide Jim as much as possible, but still has the feeling that he should turn him in. When thinking about Miss Watson, Huck thinks that he did the wrong, even evil, thing by not turning Jim in. Conscience says to me, What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so mean. (Twain 91). Here Twain shows that Huck asks himself why he took Jim from Miss Watson. He wonders what she ever did to him. He begins to think that taking Jim was hurting Miss Watson in a very bad way. With this he still decides to keep helping Jim and decides not to turn him in. This shows that turning Jim in is what society would have wanted but not I how twain shows Hucks moral growth in the story.
We see another example of moral choices when Huck and Tom help Jim escape. While they could have just let Jim out and helped him escape, they decided that they needed to make him work for his escape. They wanted to make the escape adventurous like in Toms books. In the book Tom says: It dont make no difference how foolish it is, its the right way and its the regular way. And there aint no other way, that ever I heard of, and Ive read all the books that gives any information about these things. (Twain 245). Huck was very hesitant about this idea but decided to go along with it because Tom said it would be fun and that it was the only thing to do. They make Jim do many crazy and even cruel things. They want Jim to write a journal on an old tee-shirt using blood as ink. They even think of ways to smuggle in nails, so he could cut himself to write with the blood. They even want Jim to carve inscriptions into the walls of the shed with a nail, which is worse for two reasons: Jim cannot read or write, and it would take him years to finish. To make matters worse Tom Sawyer knew the whole time that Jim was thactually free.
Huckleberry Finn was a very fun and adventurous book filled with many instances of moral questioning. Huck showed growth in this area and also in his personal connections with people around him. His adventures with Jim were at times fun, sad, and scary all the same time. Even though society wanted Huck to think a certain way. Huck stuck to what he thought was right and what he felt was the best thing to do. Twains writing and telling of the story is like nothing Ive ever read before and I would definitely read this again.
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