The adventures of huckleberry finn

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Deconstruction of Societal Values

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain explores illustrates the theme of individual conscience versus societal morals. Since this novel takes place in Missouri before the Civil War, slavery is not only a common practice but also legal. In fact, Huck Finn himself initially believes in the validity of slavery. However, throughout the course of the novel, Huck grows by learning to trust his private instincts rather than societal dictates. The magnitude of this growth is apparent when Huck comes in contact with ridiculous characters such as the King, the Duke, and Pap whose backward moral values Twain uses both to embody represent and to satirize society. Throughout the novel, Huck encounters situations where he is forced to choose between following his individual instincts or societal values. Initially, Huck abides by these societal values because he has growngrew up in an abusive environment, and he finds it easier to follow the corrupt moral values that everyone else follows. However, as Huck and Jim continue on their journey, Huck begins to listen to his instincts rather than societal values. Thus, Huck's moral conflict causes allows him to question the corrupt values of society because he and begins using his instincts.

Huck initially exhibits a lack of compassion for others, which could be attributed to his upbringing. Throughout his early childhood, Huck was has been educated by Pap, a dominant figure in shaping Huck's moral values, such as accepting slavery and the poor treatment of blacks. In addition, Miss Watson also plays a crucial role in creating his unquestioning belief in the rules of society. Even when Huck is unable to conform to the rules, he accepts that as his own deficiency. For example, when Tom Sawyer decides to play a trick on Jim, Huck has given gave into his plan without much thought. Although Huck first rejects the idea because "he might wake and make a disturbance, and then they'd find out I warn't in," his reasoning illustrates that Huck is only interested in how this joke could affect him rather than thinking about the moral consequences of his actions (5). Huck's lack of compassion towards others, especially people like Jim with no social rank, eventually causes Huck to agree with Tom's scheme. Even though Jim is greatly disturbed by this "joke," and claims that he is bewitched, Huck feels detached from the event and has no remorse for tricking Jim. Since Huck was brought up to accept slavery, he regards Jim as less than a human being, and thus believes he can mistreat him Jim. Huck's passive nature and lack of empathy cause him Huck to do things out of pure self-interest. One instance of how his self-centered views influence his decisions is when Huck and Jim encounter the men on the river who are searching for runaway slaves. Even though Huck obeys his instincts, by saving Jim, he only lies because it is the most convenient action at the time. Huck even admits he feels like he did something wrong by saving a slave's life because that is a direct result of the slanted societal values that cloud his, correct, individual values. Huck decides, believes, "What's the use you learning to do right when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong? I reckoned I would…always do whichever come handiest at the time" (91). Huck's actions may appear to be out of empathy for Jim; however, his reasoning shows that he lacks consideration towards others and is solely interested in what will benefit him the most.

When Huck faces bad choices, he begins to question the societal values he has once trusted. Once Huck leaves home and starts on his journey with Jim, he is able to overlook society's morals and begin listening to his individual values. The most important turning point in Huck's moral development occurs when Huck apologizes to Jim for tricking him. Huck now feels remorse for his bad choice after observing how much he hurt Jim. He explains, "It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for it" (86). This scene marks a point where Huck begins to view Jim as an equal human being. Thus, by apologizing, Huck takes responsibility for his actions. Since Huck is away from conventional, hypocritical values, like those imposed by Miss Watson and Pap, he is able to listen to his more honest individual values.

Eventually, Huck listens to his own individual values instead of trusting the conventional societal mores. Huck's greatest moral triumph comes when he is faced with the difficult decision to either turn Jim in to Miss Watson, his "rightful" owner, or to protect his freedom and steal him out of slavery. Huck analyzes many different factors in making his decision. Societal values tell him that if he chooses to help Jim escape, it is not only sinful but will also send him to hell. But Huck is able to disregard his conscience and trust his instincts, this ultimately concludes culminates Huck's moral growth. He announces this event by shouting, "All right then, I'll go to hell!" (214). Huck has now stated that he is aware of the possible consequences of his actions, but he is willing to risk damnation to save Jim. He is now able to make independent decisions without the effects of societal values. Even though Huck does, in the beginning, have some trepidation reserves about giving in to his instincts, his ultimate decision to risk his life to protect another's is evidence that Huck has experienced some moral growth.

Huck is initially very self-centered and uses common societal values to guide his decisions. However, Huck's adventures help open his eyes to the flaws in his society, a discovery that allows him to start trusting his individual instincts rather than relying on his conscience. Huck begins to call into question the social dictates he has trusted all of his life because he begins to see the hypocrisy in some of the actions of characters like Pap, and Miss Watson. This independence from the rules of the South and trusting his instincts enables Huck to save Jim from slavery. Huck begins to call into question the social dictates he has trusted all of his life because he begins to see the hypocrisy in some of the actions of characters like Pap, and Miss Watson. Values such as slavery, religion, and telling the truth are all values that the reader questions deconstructs from the event of Huckleberry Finn.

Adam: While I see some improvement in your writing -- for instance, at points your argument is very coherent, and you seem to have dealt with many of the mechanical problems that I've seen in the past -- structurally and conceptually you're still struggling to get your ideas correctly expressed and in order. For instance, the many word choice and phrasing problems that I see in here indicate that you don't entirely understand some of the issues at hand, or at least you're stretching your active vocabulary too far. While I respect your ambition in this regard, you need to make sure that you always write within yourself in order to make sure that your ideas get clearly expressed at all points.

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