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Moral Education In Huck Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of the most satirical classical novels, is considerably one of the greatest pieces of literature ever produced. By having his protagonist face constant internal and external dilemmas about freeing a benevolent slave, Mark Twain examines the complexity of several problems of the era and uses his work to reveal the prevalent issues in America. Huck chooses to embrace his conscience and rejects the contradictory dictates of conformity; his decision addresses the themes of societal hypocrisy, moral education, and racism as all of these factors combine to negatively affect Huck as he attempts to build his character. The controversial norms of society and the opposing beliefs of Huck’s integrity…show more content…
From the start, it is patent that Huck is somewhat an outcast who fails to agree with the morals and perceptions of society. As his bond with Jim tightens, Huck questions and disregards many of the lessons he has received about slavery and race. Rather than following the teachings of civilization, Huck decides to follow his own experience, logic, and conscience. At first, he struggles to decipher which is correct, society or his heart; but Huck decides that regardless of right or wrong, he is going to embrace his conscience in regards to Jim. In the beginning, Huck starts out seeing Jim as a worthless “nigger”, but he gradually defies the Jim Crow South by valuing and admiring the escaped slave. One sees Huck following his moral instincts when he battles social customs and accepts his ideas to help Jim in many dire situations. Regardless of feeling the pressures of having the social obligations to turn in a runaway slave, Huck remembers “how good [Jim] always was” (214) and is internally faced with the dilemma of trying to do what he perceives as right. More than once, Huck comes to the resolution, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” (214), because he sees Jim as more of a father and friend than anyone he has previously encountered. For Huck, his time on the raft is where he truly receives his moral education because that is…show more content…
Along their journey together, the readers realize that Jim is basically the father that Huck has never had; Jim cares for and protects Huck despite whatever may become of him. Huck returns these sentiments because he soon grows to love the slave, and their mutual affection is cemented when Huck is “ever so glad to see Jim” (41). With this, Twain urges the audience to see Jim as an equal and compassionate individual. By doing so, Twain shows how the society is corrupt and foul, as it is enslaving and threatening the life of a man who is constantly risking his own salvation to save the people around him. Huck comes to the conclusion that Jim “had a good heart in him and was a good man” (286). For example, Jim is portrayed as a hero when he selflessly saves Tom Sawyer’s life. Despite the fact that Tom has been playing with Jim’s life-and-death circumstance, Jim decides to risk everything for the child even though he is well aware that that he is jeopardizing his own freedom. Here, the “nigger” is portrayed as more of a man than any white person and Twain uses this to show how wrong and sinful slavery is. The concept of slavery itself is built upon the idea that one race is better than the other; racism does not take morals, ethics, or beliefs into account when determining
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