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Disobedience In Huck Finn

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Every person encompasses their own unique opinion. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck Finn possesses a conscience that makes him one of the most important and recognizable figures in American literature. However, Claudia Durst Johnson, a critic, believes that because of Huck’s actions the novel “is one of the most radical and darkly bitter books in the American canon. It represents the breaking of federal law as moral. It recommends disobedience and defiance on the part of young people.” This statement is disagreeable because although Huck does break the federal law as a moral, he does it for the right reasons. Therefore, making the great American classic not such a radical and darkly bitter book after all. In her essay,…show more content…
This leads into the main internal conflict that Huck must face. He must chose whether to break federal law by running away with Jim, a slave, or to do what society believes what is right and return him back to his owner. In the end, Huck chooses to not turn Jim in and go on a journey with him, defying the laws of the country. Johnson says that this recommends disobedience and defiance on the part of young people, however it does the opposite. This shows that Huck’s moral values are more in tune with making the right choice than society’s. On their journey, Jim even tells Huck that he is the best friend he had ever had (Twain 72). Huck might break the law, but he selects that option over condemning his friend to a lifetime of unhappiness and…show more content…
Huck finds himself in a number of situations where he needed to lie. Although lying is wrong according to society, Huck knows it is the right choice to make in the moment. One example is when he and Jim are travelling on a raft and run into some men who are looking for runaway slaves. Huck has to quickly fabricate a story about his “sick father” on the raft so they would not approach Jim (Twain 72). Huck knows he must not tell the truth, again to help his friend escape slavery. Another situation is when Huck and Jim first meet the duke and king; Huck soon realizes that they are actually con men. However, he keeps this truth from Jim because he feels that it would be useless to tell him (Twain 99). Huck knows if he tells Jim the truth, unnecessary conflicts could occur. Huck’s lying is justified because he has to in order to protect his friend. Throughout Huck’s journey he finds himself in numerous situations that may appear to reject what society believes is right. He joins a group of robbers, helps a slave run away and tells multiple lies. However, the reasons for his actions justify what he does. Huck might go against society’s beliefs but he always seems to do what is right. Thus, proving that the book is not one of the most radical and darkly bitter books in the American canon as critic Claudia Durst Johnson described it
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