Theme Of Morality In Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

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Throughout Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck’s struggle with moral alignment is continuously present. Huck faces the emotional implications of acting against the beliefs of the times as he aids Jim in escaping slavery. Though he offers assistance to Jim, Huck constantly battles with the idea of turning him in. Through this constant struggle Twain creates a contrast between morality – one’s own set of individual moral values, and moralism – the sets of moral values enforced by others. Raised in the Jim Crow south by the slave-owning Ms. Watson, Huck has been brought up on a very specific set of moral values. As those around him believe strongly in slavery and have racist ideals, these values have been rooted in Huck’s psyche.…show more content…
It is clear that Huck is confused as to why he loses the urge to turn Jim in. Moralism tells Huck to turn Jim in, whereas morality tells Huck to help Jim to freedom. In order to portray just how great of an effect moralism has on a young mind, Twain does not create an explicit moment of realization for Huck. Huck’s morality is something that must be uncovered over time. By having Huck’s first inclination be towards moralism, and his second thought towards morality, Twain shows that though moralism may be the dominant force in one’s mind, morality is always dwelling under the surface. However, Huck is not yet able to see this as his own morality. In his mind, since his thoughts and feelings are contrasting with what society has taught him to think and feel, they are wrong. Twain highlights this naivety as Huck later contemplates the importance of moral…show more content…
Twain shows how easy it is for the young mind to be controlled by moralism – yet in this case, Huck still holds on to a semblance of his morality. While the intention to help Jim is still underlying, Huck quickly throws away his implicitly safer and more sensible plan in favor of Tom’s. Twain includes this moral confusion to show that Huck is still not fully able to understand his friendship with Jim. Huck sees freeing Jim as a positive thing, yet his is unable to explicitly comprehend its positivity being “a reaction to the injustice of slavery and to his friendship. In being implicitly aware of these reasons through his emotion, Huck is implicitly aware of the rightness of his action, although (…) he does not conceive of these reasons as moral” (Goldman 4-5). Twain shows that moralism is always present in Huck’s mind, however Huck’s morality is now stronger than ever before, even if he is not aware of
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