Hucleberry Finn And Ethan From Essay, Research Paper
Huckleberry Finn , and Ethan Frome are two examples of books in which the main character has to make a moral decision, between conforming, and being considered a deviant. Huckleberry Finn has to make a decision which could cost him his life, and possibly the lives, and the reputations of his friends and his family. Ethan Frome has to make a decision in which either he can stay with his wife who he feels committed to, o r he can run off with her niece. Each character s morals and beliefs are being tested, and for both the decision was hard to make because no matter which way they went they were going to hurt someone. In both cases the main character has a certain amount of time to make the decision, in Huck s case before the public finds out, and in Ethan s case before his wife finds out.
Huckleberry had grown found for a slave named Jim, and Huckleberry had such a large respect for Jim that he was willing to risk his own life to lead Jim to freedom. In this time if anyone knew of Huck s secret then he would have been lynched. Association with a Negro was bad enough, but to have a mutual friendship was certain death. Friendship was not as far as this relationship went. Huck was going to attempt to free a black slave. This action could cause certain death, and public humiliation. However, Huckleberry decided that he was willing to die for Jim. For anyone to be willing to die for someone else says a lot, but for a white man to feel that for a black man was unheard of. Huckleberry, had to choose whether to conform to the norm of society, and be a shallow minded bigot, or he could deviate, and risk his own life for the freedom of a black man, Jim. As Adam Bagger stated, “Huck Finn is forced to compete with society for the friendship of Jim.” This dilemma was important in the making of Huck as a person. The decision that he made showed that love, and friendship is a lot stronger than color. The decision for Huck to help free Jim, showed that Huck was a bigger man than his teen- age body appeared.
Ethan Frome is a strong willed man who is the last survivor of his kind in this part of New England. He is forced to chose between his wife Zeena, and her cousin Mattie. Ethan has to decide whether he should conform to society, and stay with his wife, or if he should except the temptation and stay with his “mistress” Mattie. The part of this equation that makes this decision so hard, is the fact that Ethan really didn t love Zeena. Ethan was a very lonely man, and married Zeena for his own sake. He just wanted to have someone, and he didn t want to be lonely. This was very selfish of Ethan, so when Mattie came along Ethan s character was put to a large test. Mattie first came in to their lives to help Zeena around the house. Mattie came in to help her ailing aunt around the house. Zeena had many little problems, so Mattie was just helping with work around the house. She came in as anyone s niece would come in and help their aunt, but the attraction between Ethan and Mattie grew, and this was the dilemma. He can t decide whether to run off and start a new family with Mattie, or if he should stay loyal to his long time wife. This is a problem in the world today as well and, unfortunately, a lot of people are making decisions that hurt each other. Ethan, no matter what decision he made was going to hurt someone. Ethan decided to ignore the temptation from Mattie and, this shows that eventhough Ethan s marriage with Zeena was not based on love, that the marriage would last.
In both Huckleberry Finn , and Ethan Frome the main character s morals and values are put to the test. In both cases the character must either conform with society, or rebel and start their own belief system. Huckleberry Finn has the brains and attitude to ignore society and deviate, ultimately making the right decision. Ethan has to decide whether to stick with his wife that he really doesn t love, or he can start a relationship with Mattie. Ethan feels that Mattie would not be right and so he decides to keep his life the same. In both of these stories the main character has to make a large moral decision which will change both their lives, and the people they care about s lives.
Works Cited /Consulted
Twain, Mark.”The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, New York, Scholastic Inc. 1985
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome, New York. Collier Books. 1911