Mark Twain examines the relationship between moral codes and their effect on society through the characters he develops in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain constructs a unique moral code for each individual character based on that character's expectations from and treatment by society and his personal experience. In this novel morals mainly pivot around either compliance or defiance, which have the capacity to either blindly support or shrewdly undermine any societal institution, respectively. The young Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, pivotal characters in the novel, personify these moral opposites: one as a troubled societal outcast, the other as a typical white boy with an affinity for fun and games.
Huck struggles with conflicts between his own conscience and the moral expectations from society throughout the novel, especially regarding Jim and slavery. He knows he is breaking the law in helping Jim escape: "Conscience says to me, 'What had poor Miss Watson done to you, that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you, that you could treat her so mean?'"(100). Huck does not realize that his sensitivity toward...
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Morality in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" Essay
717 Words3 Pages
American author Mark Twain was one of the most influential people of his time. Twain is perhaps best known for his traditional classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel about an adventurous boy named Huck Finn as he traverses about on the Mississippi. Under first impressions, Huckleberry Finn would be considered nothing but a children’s tale at heart written by the highly creative Mark Twain. However one interprets it, one can undoubtedly presume that Twain included personal accounts within its pages, humorous and solemn opinions on the aspects of the diverse societies around him during his life. Throughout the entire story, Huck Finn would often come into conflict between choosing what was consciously right and what was morally…show more content…
A major theme of the novel is the hypocrisy and double standards that are evident in the society surrounding Huck. This trait is found especially within Christian and religious types in the novel. Twain shows almost every good Christian in the novel as having a generous and kind side, which completely contradicts much of their actions. Twain believes that this hypocrisy is the underlining element that makes religion skeptical. As it is seen in the book, almost every good Christian contradicts himself or herself in some way. Perhaps Huck's first example of this was when the Widow Douglas did not allow him to smoke, as it was a mean practice. However, “she took snuff too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself” (Twain 2). Another example was the Grangerfords. Huck described this family as very nice and kind and even considered Buck a good friend. But once again, the hypocrisy of religious types was bound to come into play. These same people are slave owners and have a feud with a similar family, the Shepherdsons for reasons they don't remember. Perhaps the biggest example of this hypocrisy was when Huck went to church with the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons. As Huck explains, “the men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their knees.... it was pretty ornery preaching all about brotherly love” (Twain 83). It is obvious that the two families had their guns in their laps while the preacher talked about