Huckleberry Finn: Society Is Not Always Right

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J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all those who wander are lost.” This quote illustrates that if people make their own decisions they will be able to find a path that suits their desires, not those of others. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck struggles throughout his adventures to find equilibrium between what he wants to do and what society wants him to do. Consequently, Huck tries to battle the inner conflicts that he has and not conform to society’s “accepted” values. Mark Twain identifies these struggles by using different stylistic elements throughout the three sections of the novel, showing the development of Huck as the novel progresses. First, in the beginning of the novel Huck starts to realize that society is not always right. In this section, Twain uses sarcasm and mockery in order to show how people will believe something just because a “qualified” person says so. This is shown when Tom Sawyer and Huck say: “Why, blame it all, we’ve got to do it. Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books, and get things all muddled up?” “Oh, that’s all very fine to say, Tom Sawyer, but how in the nation are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don’t know how to do it to them? – that’s the thing I want to get at. Now, what so you reckon it is?” (9) This quote criticizes how society accepts values because they read or heard it somewhere. Here, Tom acts as if he knows what he is doing, and he is instructing all the other kids to do what he says because “that’s what the books say.” Twain uses sarcasm and mockery in order to tell his audience not to conform to society just because it is easier to do so or because society will not approve if th... ... middle of paper ... of determining the type of situation that he is in. In this case, Huck learns that this might not be the best place to voice his opinion because the main goal is to help Jim escape. Huck has no choice but to comply with Tom’s absurd demands. Overall, Huck has learned that in most situations your instinct is mostly the right way to go, and you shouldn’t conform to the values that the people around you preach. Without a doubt, Huck develops into an individual who learns that society is not always right and that he needs to trust his instincts. Twain use of many stylistic features including syntax, diction, mockery, and sarcasm emphasizes the problems that society has. Twain’s overall purpose for his audience is to become more individualistic and not to be guided by the ways of society. People need to make their own decisions based on their values and instincts.
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