Huck's Moral Dilemma-Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Essay by val07College, UndergraduateA+, March 2009

download word file, 7 pages 0.0

Huck’s Moral DilemmaMark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story, taking place prior to the Civil War, of a young boy, Huck Finn, who fakes his own death and runs away from home in order to escape his abusive father, Pap. Accompanying Huck on his adventure down the Mississippi River is Jim, a runaway slave. In the beginning, Jim is depicted as a stereotypical and naïve slave, and Huck and Jim’s relationship, at times, loosely resembles a master-slave relationship; though Huck is not truly Jim’s master, he tries to act in a superior manner toward Jim, likely because society has taught him to act this way. As the story progresses, however, Huck and Jim’s relationship appears to change and Huck struggles with an internal battle of what is right: his conscience, which is controlled by the values of society, or what he feels in his heart. Huck’s heart wins this battle a few times during his adventure, and Huck and Jim’s relationship continues to grow; however, because Huck is only an impressionable young boy, it is impossible for him to completely turn against the values of society.

Though Twain appears, himself, to be intentionally racist, he uses Huck’s character, and his interactions with society, in an ironic manner to negatively critique the racist culture of the old South, and to show how poorly blacks were treated. His purpose in writing this novel was to comment on how little had changed, even after the Civil War.

When first introduced in the novel, Jim’s ignorant nature and preoccupation with superstition allow him to become an easy target for Tom and Huck’s trickery. At this point in the novel Jim is seen as nothing more than “Miss Watson’s nigger” who “was most ruined, for a servant, because he got...