Getting Real With Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain was published at a time when slavery was still very much a controversial issue. When this great novel came to life, during the antebellum period, not everyone agreed on the qualifications someone had to meet to be considered and treated like a human being. At this time, most people in the South considered themselves Christians, religiously went to church each Sunday, and said their prayers every night. A large percent of these church going folks also owned slaves and saw nothing wrong with the establishment. Twain does an astonishing job of showing the way that a slave’s thoughts and emotions are equatable to those of their white owners. At the beginning of the novel, Huckleberry Finn does not seem to have that same view. However, towards the end of the novel, Huck begins to see Jim as an equal. The novel is written in first person vernacular and enables the reader to feel as if Huck was as real as the boy next door. In turn, making it easier for readers to relate to Huck. The struggles that Huck face, as to whether or not to follow his conscience or the real world’s views, are portrayed throughout the novel. He is constantly trying to decide whether or not to follow what his heart tells him rather than follow what he was taught by society at that time.
One of the first struggles that Huck faces deals with religion. At the beginning of the novel, Miss Watson tried to tell Huck all about the glory of Heaven and the fiery pits of hell. Huck says “Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there” (2). Instead of thinking that Heaven was a grand place, Huck did not want to have anything to do with such a boring place ...
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... also applicable when Jim starts to question whether the duke and king are genuine royalty. Huck said, “What was the use to tell Jim these warn’t real kings and dukes? It wouldn’t a done no good…” (117). Huck believes that if no good will come from ruining something exciting for someone, then why tell them?
Though Huck continually struggles with his discrepancy of right and wrong, he eventually gets to a place where he is able to discern right from wrong. We are able to see this because of the way the novel is written. The reader enjoys a front row seat in relation to all of Huck’s thoughts. Huck is able to see how genuine and real Jim is. Towards the end of the book, Huck sees Jim for who he truly is. Huck is able to put aside the views of society, and so called ‘Christians’ of the time in order to connect with Jim. Huck chooses to go with his heart above all else.
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