Huck Finn and Oppressive Societies
The world in which we live in now is much less oppressive than say the world lived in the middle of the 1800's. Up until the Civil War, the South depended on their 'peculiar institution' of slavery, in order to be productive a successful. Most people believed slavery was not wrong, but those who thought otherwise seldom tried to alter it. In general if surrounded by oppressive environment, one does not usually try to make a difference in that world. This is because people are afraid to defend what is right against a whole mass of people who believe otherwise. Huck Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Billy Budd in Billy Budd, and Frederick Douglass in his autobiography all portray individuals who because of their good, innocent qualities go up against the oppression in their society. Living in an oppressive society does not always draw you to do the wrong thing you are still capable of generating change, whether it be for a certain individual or against a whole mass of people. Billy Budd starts off on the ship the "Rights of Man", Melville obviously showing his intent in the naming of the first ship. This shows that on this ship where Billy wanted to be and chose to be he had rights. That he and the other crew had choices of what to do and how to be. Then along comes the British navy and decides that they are going to take Billy aboard their ship "Power of War". This is when Billy is brought into an oppressive society. This is the navy and wartime during which rules must be followed as well as a lifestyle that must be followed. Billy is a poor innocent boy with a childish stutter. This stutter shows Billy's humane side, a flaw, as well as leading you to the thinking that he has the innocence of a child. This stutter is connected to innocence because of its childish qualities. When most children begin speaking they have some sort of stutter, which usually goes away. The stutter parallels innocence because it is showing that you are just learning how to talk and don't really comprehend the correct way to make sounds, as you grow older you learn and the stutter disappears.