Societal Values vs. Moral Instincts

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On his many adventures, Huckleberry Finn encounters numerous situations in which his morality is tested or needs to be implemented. Huck has moral dilemmas to a degree, but he figures out the answer to his questions. He also figures out that sometimes, society has it all wrong, and that at times you just have to follow your heart. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain reveals that what is honorable is to follow your natural moral instincts, not what society and civilization say is moral. From the beginning of the book, it is shown that Huck is forced to conform to what others think is best for him. Huckleberry was taken in by Widow Douglas because his dad wasn’t a part of his life anymore and he needed a parent figure. “The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would civilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it any longer I lit out” (11). By trying to civilize Huckleberry, Widow Douglas was imposing what she assumed was best for him and wasn’t listening to what he thought or wanted. Huck was a very opinionated person and often spoke his mind with no remorse, which Widow Douglas didn’t like. “All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn’t particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she was going to live so as to go to the good place” (12). We see here Widow Douglas explaining to Huck how her way of life was the best and to get into “the good place”, or heaven, that he must live his life like hers. Twain portrays the widow as unpleasant and preachy to make it so the reader sympathizes with Huck as a young boy who needs to get out of ... ... middle of paper ... ...uenced by anyone else. “And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming” (210). This quote expresses how Huckleberry was tired of doing what others thought was best. He had come to the realization that he was independent and didn’t have to reform to the norms of society. As the book progresses, Huckleberry gains a deeper understanding of how to take a step back and not think in terms of what society says is true, but what his heart tells him. Huckleberry’s distaste for society is what ultimately pushed him to look deeper into what he himself wanted with his life. He figures out that sometimes, society has it all wrong, and that at times you just have to follow your heart. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, we find that what is honorable is to follow your natural moral instincts, not what society and civilization say is moral.
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