Huck Finn Moral Choices
The Journey of Huckleberry Finn and The Moral Choices That He Makes Along The Way: World renowned author , C. S. Lewis, once stated that, “There comes a time where we have to make a choice that shows how much we really do care about our self morals. ” What he says relates to the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain. This literary work is a story of a young boy who helps his friend escape the world of slavery. As he goes along this journey, he makes choices that goes against society’s rules. By making those decisions, he shows the reader that he clearly makes three of his own morals for himself.
Therefore, the theme that society’s rules will sometimes interfere with our morals comes into play in this early American form of writing. One of the very first morals that Huck sets for himself, it to keep his word. Many people vow to keep their promises and many people never do. Huck however, does. Early on in the novel, Twain’s readers are able to see an example of Huck keeping his word. When Huck finds that Jim has run away and is hiding on the same island Huck is. Huck asks Jim how he got there, and at first Jim isn’t going to tell Huck. But when Huck promises not to tell a soul, Jim confides in him that he has run off.
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Huck is shocked by this bit of information, and Jim reminds him that he promised not to tell. Huck responds by saying, “I said I wouldn’t, and I’ll stick to it. Honest injun, I will. People will call me a low down abolishonist and despise me for keeping mum- but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t a going to tell. ” (43). When Huck says this, it becomes very clear to the readers that Huck is going to keep his word. He is going to keep his promise that he makes to Jim. As Huck says, “I said I wouldn’t, and I’ll stick to it. ” (43). Even to be a young boy, Huck is learning that when he makes a promise, the right thing to do is to keep it.
To many people, honesty is their number one policy. But as people read Mark Twain’s tale, they are able to see that the policy of honesty is not everyone’s number one. An example of Huck showing honesty would be when he tells Jim the truth about the prank that he plays on him. When Jim awakens, Huck tells him that everything was a dream. But later on, he feels guilty for lying to Jim, and he tells him the truth. According to John Bushman, “Huck makes many choices that demonstrate his ability to set morals for himself, but one that caught my attention was when he told Mary Jane Wilks bout the frauds that the King and the Duke really were” (Bushman). From what he is saying, his readers can clearly see that he thought that even though Huck was at a young age, he is already forming a moral of honesty.
The readers can see his moral of honesty showing when he says, “Don’t you holler. Just set still, and take it like a man. I got to tell the truth, and you want to brace up, Miss Mary, because it’s a bad kind, and going to be hard to take, nut there ain’t no help for it. These uncles of yourn ain’t no uncles at all- they’re a couple of frauds- regular deadbeats. (188). As people read what Huck says here, it becomes clear to them that Huck has a desire to be honest. He doesn’t like lying because he has a feeling of compassion and regret after he commits the act of it. Therefore, Huck makes himself a self-moral that he will choose honesty over anything. Even though in the past, he told lies to elderly women and captains of ships, he will always carry that sense of guilt and either make it right, or leave the situation the way it is. In the words of Dr.
Davis Horner, “I believe that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was purposely trying to show his readers the morals that Huck makes for himself. We can see this by the way he is not judgmental towards Jim. ” (Horner). From the second volume of Literature and Its Times, the authors tell their readers that “The triumph of the novel, and of Huck’s character is that he is brought up with prejudices, he looks beyond them and reaches his own conclusions. ” (Moss, Wilson 18). From these excerpts, readers are able to make connections with this quote and the act that Huck does.
He befriends Jim, even though he lives in a society where it is wrong. He is able to look past the color of Jim’s skin, his education, and his social class. This just goes to show how Huck is not judgmental towards others. He has made a self-moral that he will treat everyone the same. No matter what society says. Throughout history, millions of people have set morals for themselves. Today, they are known as self-made morals. People from every social class would make these, and try their best to uphold them and follow them.
Benjamin Franklin made a specific moral to grow more Christ like. Ronald Reagan made a moral to always be honest with his country. There are many different morals that people can make, and in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, people can see many morals that Huck sets for himself. Three specific ones would be when he decides to keep his word, always be honest, and to not judge others. In this novel, Huck experiences many challenging trials that would cause him to “stumble” in his morals, but in reality, all the trials did was cause him to create more morals for himself.
Bushman, John. “Getting On A Personal Level With The Best Of Twain.” Making Connections
With Twain’s Work. Microsoft, 13 December 2012. Web. 24 Jan 2013. Horner, Davis. “Huck Finn: Morals.” Harvard’s Professors Open-Discussion Forum. Harvard
University, 6 January 2011. Web. 24 January 2013.
Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson. “The Way Huck Thinks.” Literature and Its Times. Volume II.
Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1997. 18. Print.
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