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Loyalty and Trust in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Huckleberry Finn – Loyalty and Trust


Huckleberry Finn does not address questions of law as directly as the other novels that we have read. Ostensibly, Huck is torn between disobeying the slavery laws and honoring his conscious.  However, Huck shows a disregard for other laws throughout the story, so I think that his conflict stems not from a belief that one must obey the law because it is the law, or on a social contract theory.  Huck is never overly concerned with the truth or the norms of society, he adheres to the mores of society because of the consequences as opposed to any fundamental acceptance of them or authority.  Unlike Billy Budd, however, Huck does not seem to be influenced by the fear of corporal punishment, as much as he is concerned with the social consequences that would result if his disobedience was discovered.  The choice that Huck eventually makes is deeper than just choosing to accept the social consequences, he is willing to `go to hell' for Jim, rather than betray the loyalty and trust that has grown between them...

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... my mind upon learning that Tom was such a well-known and beloved character, I did not think the audience would accept it.  However, today, I am not sure why I thought the audience's expected acceptance/rejection is indicative of the authors intent. Twain was very dark in his later years, and his use of the dialects, inclusion of the (arrogant, taunting?) notice/explanation (challenge?) and his biting satiric tone indicate that he would not feel constrained by the audiences expectations, and might seek to shock them. 


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