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Huck Finn - Huck Finn-Individual Vs Society The Adventures...

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Huck Finn-Individual Vs. Society The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The conflict between society and the individual is a very important theme portrayed throughout Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Many people see Huckleberry Finn as a mischievious boy who is a bad influence to others. Huck is not raised in agreement with the accepted ways of civilization. He practically raises himself, relying on instinct to guide him through life. As seen several times in the novel, Huck chooses to follow his innate sense of right, yet he does not realize that his own instincts are more right than those of society. Society refuses to accept Huck as he is and isn't going to change its opinions about him until he is reformed and civilized. The Widow Douglas and Miss Watson try to "sivilize" Huck by making him stop all of his habits, such as smoking. They try to reverse all of his teachings from the first twelve years of his life and force him to become their stereotypical good boy. However, from the very begininning of the novel, Huck clearly states that he does not want to conform to society. "The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me...I got into my old rags and my sugar hogshead again, and was free and satisfied." (page 11) Huck says this shortly after he begins living with the Widow Douglas because it is rough for him to be confined to a house and the strict rules of the Widow Douglas. When Pap returns for Huck, and the matter of custody is brought before the court, the reader is forced to see the corruption of society. The judge rules that Huck belongs to Pap, and forces him to obey an obviously evil and unfit man. One who drinks and beats his son. Later, when Huck makes it look as though he has been killed, we see how civilization is more concerned about a dead body than it is in the welfare of living people. The theme becomes even more evident once Huck and Jim set out down the Mississippi. As they run from civilization and are on the river, they ponder the social injustices forced upon them when they are on land. The river never cares how saintly they are, how rich they are, or what society thinks of them. The river allows Huck the one thing that Huck wants to be, and that is Huck. Huck enjoys his adventures on the raft. He prefers the freedom of the wilderness to the restriction of society. Also, Huck's acceptance of Jim is a total defiance of society. Society automatically sees a black person, and even further, slaves, as inferior. They never think of slaves as human beings, only as property. A slave, such as Jim, could be the nicest, most caring person you have ever met, but since he is a slave he is presumed incapable of such things. Ironically, Huck believes he is committing a sin by going against society and protecting Jim. In Chapter sixteen, we see, perhaps, the most inhumane action of society. Huck meets some men looking for runaway slaves, and so he comes up with a story about his father being on the raft with small pox. The men fear catching this disease and instead of rescuing
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