The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay
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In the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the main character Huck Finn undergoes many moral changes. In the beginning of the book, Huck is wild and carefree, playing jokes and tricks on people and believing them all to be hilarious. When Huck’s adventures grow to involve more people and new moral questions never before raised, you can tell that he has started to change. By the time the book is almost over, people can see a drastic change in Huck’s opinions, thoughts, and his views of “right and wrong”.
Sometimes, serious events can affect a person’s morals, opinions, and values.
This is clearly shown in Huck as his adventures progress further into seriousness. Even through the seriousness, Mark Twain has still added a twist of humor to keep everything interesting, and that is what keeps readers interested in reading the book. Readers might even be affected by reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn their opinions prior to reading the book and opinions following the exposure to these ideas may differ.
Huck’s views on theology, “right and wrong” opinions, views of slavery, and the tricks he plays all reflect the beliefs that Huck holds when he is introduced in the early part of the book.
Hucks opinion of religion shows his lack of concern for serious things. When lectured on heaven and hell (by which he refers to by the “good” and “bad” place respectively), he quickly decides that he wants to go to the “bad” place because he finds no interest in singing and praying to god, while the bad place appeals to him as he hears that his friend Tom Sawyer is going to the bad place. His views of praying also reflect his lack of serious concerns. Instead of praying for help in finding faith, he prays for a fishing line.
This upsets him when he finds that there are no fishing hooks (Pg. 13) and takes prayer lightheartedly until faced with another moral problem later into the book. His carefree and wild ways are expressed with his superstitions as well. This is shown with his throwing salt over his shoulder (Pg. 18) and his other superstitions such as burning the spider, about the snakeskin, and talking about the dead (Pg. 61). Another way Mark Twain expresses Huck’s wildness and confused morals is that he never tells the truth.
One of his bloated lies is the one about being a girl (Pg. 8) that he keeps bloating and bloating to cover up his old lies. His seriousness later changes as the book progresses. By the middle of the book, Huck has shown certain sines of improvement. He now realizes that Jim is more human than he was led to believe. Huck’s view of “right and wrong” have changed. He still lies and plays jokes, but now he feels some guilt whenever he does this. An example of this is when he tricks Jim into believing he was dreaming about the fog.
When Jim says “en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ’em feel ashamed”, (Pg. 05) which in more correct spelling means “trash is what people are who put dirt on their friend’s heads”. This makes Huck feel bad enough to apoligize and he finally realizes that tricking Jim is wrong and that he has feelings. He also before that, had lied to save Jim from getting caught by saying that Jim was white and had a disease so that people wouldn’t look for Jim and probably catch him.
His seriousness grows after he sees Buck die, and Buck had been somewhat of a friend to him (Pg. 153). Later, when they encounter the “King” and the “Duke” (Pg. 59), and even later when he finds out that the King and the Duke are frauds, he does not tell Jim, but for a good reason. This reason is so he does not make Jim feel ignorant or gullible. This shows an improvement in Huck, that he still keeps the truth away, but he does it for the good of others now. By the late part of the book (or of what we read), Huck shows more seriousness to religion and actually thinks of how religion and his morals are contradicting.
He stops to think of which should overrule. (Pg. 68) Religion, as he understands it, tells him stealing is wrong, and combined with what he was taught, it makes helping a slave escape appear as stealing. On the other hand, Huck see’s Jim as a human and wants to help him. Jim is his friend, and Huck now holds staying with your friends as one of his values. So after thinking seriously about it and even writing a note to Miss Watson, he eventually decides that his values overrule religion (by then ripping up the note), even though religion is still a force that should be thought about.
In his eyes, he is going to go to hell and suffer eternally because of helping Jim escape and not returning him back to his “owner”. This later shows that Huck is an “all the way” kind of person (meaning if he does something wrong and is going to have to suffer consequences for it, he might as well enjoy doing it). When he figures out that the “King” has sold Jim, he goes out to find Jim (Pg. 273). We can now see that Huck is caring over his friends now and that he sticks by his morals as much as he can, and Huck’s morals have changed alot since the beginning.
He does not seem to enjoy lying to people anymore if it hurts others. His dislikes of hurting others with lies started from when he tricked Jim about the fog and felt bad, to when he decided he would tell the truth to Mary Jane in a note (Pg. 243). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an excellant example of how people can change over time and events. This is shown in the above reasons. Huck generally feels that “humans are good and trustworthy, but you always have to watch out for people that always want to make a benefit at others loss”.
He is shocked by the fact that people have a tendency to do incredibly kind things (like when he helps Jim) and the fact that people can do terrible things to hurt others emotionally (as shown by the King and the Duke’s heartless ways to get money, which even include disrespect to the dead). Huck talks to his conscience in many of the previous statements. He talks with his conscience to find what choice is better, turn in Jim or help Jim, and when he decides to help Mary Jane. As a general whole, the human race is generally good and kind, but there are always some exceptions.