Huck's Nonconformity

1603 Words7 Pages

In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Jim bond closely to one another, regardless of the fact that they belong to different ethnic groups. Huck, a coming-of-age teenage boy, lives in the Southern antebellum society which favors slavery. At the beginning of the book, Twain claims that “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; and persons attempting to find a plot will be shot” (Twain 2). Ironically, through his experiences with Jim, the uncivilized Huck gradually establishes his own moral beliefs, although sometimes struggling against the influence of society. In the opening chapters of the novel, Huck’s nonconformity to his corrupted …show more content…

Throughout his journey with Jim, the conscience guides Huck to care more about the consequences of the events happens around him which implies further development and consolidation of his moral beliefs. For instance, when Huck and Jim decide to “borrow” some food from the corn fields, Huck struggles to determine whether it is morally right to do it. On one hand, he justifies his actions by stating that, " Pap always said it warn 't no harm to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay them back, sometime” (56). In this case, he thinks Pap’s reasoning is actually logical. On the other hand, he also remembers, “but the widow said it warn 't anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it" (56). In this scene, instead of battling between his moral compass and society’s expectations, he is actually making a decision on whether he is going to conform to civilization as it is represented by the Widow. They finally choose to take some fruit after careful consideration, as Huck puts it “We warn’t feeling just right, before that, but it was all comfortable now” (56). The fact that they considered thoroughly whether to take the fruit or not shows that Huck starts to think about the consequence and the nature of things as well as his ethic progress. Furthermore, the major turning point of the formation of Huck’s ethic values occurs when he meets the white person on the steamboat who is looking for runaway slaves. Huck feels “so mean and so miserable I most wished I was dead” (75) because Huck does not know whether he should tell the white man about Jim. At this moment, the collision between his moral compass and the expectation of society reprises, “conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever” (75). On one hand, he thinks he “will paddle ashore at the first light, and tell,” I[Huck] felt easy and happy, and light as a feather, right off ” (75). He also believes the old saying, “ ‘Give a nigger an inch and he 'll take an ell’ ”(75) that it is

Open Document