Huck Finn Morality Essay, Research Paper
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, author Mark Twain uses Huck to demonstrate how one s conscience is an aspect of everyday life. The decisions we make are based on what our conscience tells us which can lead us the right way or the wrong way. Huck s deformed conscience leads him the wrong way early on in the chapters, but eventually in later chapters his sound mind sets in to guild him the rest of the way until his friend Tom Sawyer shows up. Society believes that slaves should be treated as property; Huck s sound mind tells him that Jim is a person, a friend, and not property. Society does not agree with that thought, which also tampers with Huck s mind telling him that he is wrong. Though Huck does not realize that his own instinct are more moral than those of society, Huck chooses to follow his innate sense of right instead of following society s rules.
In chapter 16, Huck goes through a moral conflict of whether he should turn Jim in or not. I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck all out of me (89). Right off from the beginning, Huck wanted to turn Jim in because it was against society s rules to help a slave escape and Huck knew it. But when Jim said that Huck; you s de bes fren Jim s ever had; en you s de only fren ole Jim s got now (89), made helped Huck to grasp the concept that there is a friendship in the making. Even though Huck didn t turn Jim in, he is till troubled by his conscience when the slave catchers were leaving because he knows it is wrong to help a slave. Still Huck cannot bring himself forward to tell on Jim, thus showing that his innate sense of right exceeds that of society.
Huck finds out that all of the bad things he did are coming back to haunt him. In chapter 31 when Jim gets sold for forty dollars, Huck realizes that here was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time whilst from up there in heaven. It also scared Huck because all this karma, what comes around goes around, was happening to him. Thus foreshadowing that helping a slave escape will have its consequences in the future. It also foreshadows that since Jim is now captured, Huck will have to rescue him because they have bonded so much throughout the voyage. Huck then has to struggle with his conscience about returning Jim to Miss Watson so he decides to write a letter to Miss Watson. After Huck wrote the letter he feels like he could finally pray. I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell (213). Then Huck starts to think and he thought about all of the good times that he and Jim had, and that his friendship with Jim is more important. So instead of sending the letter, Huck arrives at his moral decision and decides to tear it up and go to hell (214). Huck s sound mind now tells him that this is a true friendship because Huck has already decided that he will save Jim, no matter what the cost would be.
Loneliness sets in for Huck after Jim is sold, and Huck finds out what a friendship is all about. Huck also felt loneliness before when he and Jim were separated, when a steamboat hit their raft. When Jim was with Huck, Jim provided companionship for Huck and now that Jim is gone, Huck only feels loneliness. Now Huck recognizes that Jim is more than just property and understands that Jim is a friend to him. One of the first times that Huck recognize Jim as a human being is when Huck actually apologizes to Jim in chapter 15. It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn t ever sorry for it afterward, neither. I didn t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn t done that one if I d a knowed it would make him feel that way (86). No person in society would have ever have apologize to a slave but Huck understood the humanity, of Jim, after Jim s definition of what is trash. This also shows how Huck was maturing and how he is accepting the innate value of human beings. After this incident, Huck couldn t even stand that wicked people had something mean done to them.
Whenever Huck follows his own sense on righteousness, and not those of society, his thoughts are more moral. Just the decision to help a slave escape is going against all rules of society. Huck s sound mind helped him go against societys rules and let him think by himself. It s just like the poem by Stephen Crane that says, Think as I Think, said a man, Or you are abominably wicked; You are a toad. And after I had thought of it, I said, I will, then, be a toad. This is just like Huck because all of his decisions that he makes based on instinct and not what society tells him.