Finn is given multiple opportunities to decide for himself what is and is not moral. His own experiences come to mirror, to some degree, those of Jim. Each of these opportunities provides Finn a chance to examine the difference between what meets the ethics of society – what he has been told is right – and what he believes is right, based on his feelings and empathy. The main background for this examination is Finn's relationship with his father, and Finn's decision to stay with Jim during their respective escapes. In both situations, Finn goes against what he has been raised to believe. Both times, his struggle is internal, due to the external source of the society's code of morals. In both instances of struggle, Finn focuses on doing what is right – the issue arising from the definition of right. Does society have absolute control over what is right, or is it a s...
... middle of paper ...
...h his father (nearly slave-like), desires freedom for the sake of self-preservation. While this is wrong, he justifies it because of the element of self-preservation. When faced with the questions of whether or not to free Jim (who is supposed to be sinful, one of the society's justification for enslavement), Finn recalls his own search for self-preservation. This hypocrisy and tension provide an interesting dialogue within Finn, one that remains relevant in the present day, and was certainly more so in Twain's time.
Smith, David. “Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse.” In The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. Volume C. New York: Norton, 2012. Pp 317- 319.
Twain, Mark. “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” In The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Nina Baym. Volume C. New York: Norton, 2012. Pp 130-309.
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