Huck_finn_FINAL2 - Grant Paranjape Honors American Lit 1st...

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Huck Finn Critical Analysis In the novel “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, the main character Huck Finn experiences many adventures along his journey to free Jim, an escaped slave. Huck is a white teenager and the son of the town drunk who has moved away. Huck is living with Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson, who have taken Huck into their home in order to try “civilize him”, by teaching him religion and proper manners. His father returns to town and tries to take advantage of Huck’s money and even kidnaps him. Huck, tired of his father’s beatings, fakes his own murder and escapes on raft down the Mississippi River where he meets Miss Watson’s runaway slave, Jim. In Huck’s journey to help Jim to freedom, Huck experiences many changes in his view of morality, beliefs about God and the goodwill of people. One of these major changes is Huck’s understanding of the morality of people around him. Through this novel we see that Huck’s trip down the river is actually a quest for him to determine his own morality and not merely a journey to free a slave as portrayed by Twain. Huck learns conflicting moral perspectives from many people in his life, before he goes on his quest down the river. The moralities he learn will cause him to be in a moral conflict during much of his trip One of these moral views is from the Widow, who teaches him that he must do everything he can for other people while thinking nothing of his own well-being. She also teaches him the power of prayer and how doing especially good things for other people will lead him to be in God’s favor. This morality lesson is very important, as it will lead Huck to try to help the escaped slave Jim gain freedom. He would likely never have never attempted this feat if he had not been taught the Widow’s lesson, as the white people in the South at this time was thoroughly racist against blacks. Huck learns another morality perspective, the principles of Providence, from Miss. Watson. She teaches Huck that he should follow all of society’s laws so that he will end up in God’s favor and therefore go to heaven. She warns Huck that he should never question, fight to change or disobey these laws, because if he did, he would go to hell. 1 Grant Paranjape 10/07/07 Honors American Lit 1 st hour
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Also, the contrast in Miss Watson view of providence with that of the Widow’s perspective is captured in the quote “ Sometimes the widow would take me one side and talk about Providence in a way to make a body’s mouth water; but maybe next day Miss. Watson would take hold and knock it all down again.” (Pg15). These conflicting values create a moral deadlock for Huck that he will struggle with time and time again as he journeys down the river and will reveal that his trip is a quest for him to decide upon a morality. Huck is also taught a third morality which isn’t a formal religion. Instead the slave Jim teaches him the morality of superstition. Huck initially chooses to follow this morality in which if you do
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Huck_finn_FINAL2 - Grant Paranjape Honors American Lit 1st...

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