Huck Finn

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade January 2002

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In the story "Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain is demonstrating conflict within Huck's inner conscience vs. society's values and virtues. Throughout the story Huck struggles with an internal moral problem of what he feels is right and what he is taught is right. This causes great conflict when the accepted rules of society, often corrupt in nature, are imposed on him. When Huck is unable to take the restrictions of life any longer, whether they are emotional or physical, he simply goes back to what he feels is right and what makes him happy. The basic theme of the story is a boy's quest for freedom. Freedom not only from Huck's internal struggle in defining right and wrong, but also freedom from Huck's relationships with Widow Douglas and his father, and also freedom from society's government, religion, and racism.

The best example of his internal conflict is Huck's brief experiences with religion.

Widow Douglas's daily teachings of the pathways to heaven are always in conflict with Huck's own beliefs. Because of this, Huck reflects the teachings of organized religion, and he must often struggle with the guilt that this choice places on him. In the situation when Huck must decide on whether to protect Jim or to do the "Christian" thing and return Miss Watson her "property". Even thought Huck does what he feels is right, in the end, Twain lets you know that the issue is not completely erased for Huck's conscience.

Another freedom Huck struggles for is freedom from the two unhealthy family ties he has. The first being Widow Douglas's attempts at making Huck civilized. The second being Huck's desire to escape from his dangerous and abusive father. Whereas the Widow Douglas tries to better Huck as a person, Huck's father tries to drag Huck down...