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Published: 20-09-2019

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The Moral Dilemma in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a Novel by Mark Twain

Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck faces many dilemmas that test his morality. Initially, Huck acts like a spoiled kid, which is reflected in his lack of appreciation towards the adult characters that take care of him. When Huck is forced to make a choice that determines Jim’s fate, he grapples with his own moral complexity for the initial time and starts to realize that his actions have consequences. By the end of the story, Huck learns to make decisions primarily based on his sense of proper and incorrect, regardless of common opinion in society. Huck begins the story as an unconcerned youngster who cares small about the wellbeing of other individuals, but he develops his personal understanding of proper and incorrect and how they influence other people.

In the exposition of the story, Huck’s lack of morality is shown via his ingratitude for the adult characters that watch over him like Miss Watson and Jim. Miss Watson teaches Huck lessons in manners, reading and religion. Huck is ungrateful for these lessons and when told about heaven and hell, he decides he would rather go to hell simply because “I couldn’t see no benefit in going exactly where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t attempt for it” (Twain four). Huck does not take pleasure in the thought of Miss Watson’s heaven and due to the fact he wants to get away from her life of “sivilization,” and he even says he would rather go to hell. Although Miss Watson is one of the few characters truly trying to give Huck a greater life, Huck remains ungrateful for her lessons and everything she does for his betterment. When Huck joins Tom Sawyer and his gang, he worries he can not join when the boys agree that if anyone in the gang does one thing terribly incorrect, their families should be killed. Even though the boys would not really kill members of one another’s family, Huck nonetheless panics and “was most ready to cry but all at once I believed of a way, and so I presented them Miss Watson – they could kill her” (Twain 9). Huck’s attitude is appalling. He desires to be rid of Miss Watson and when the gang realizes Huck lacks household members that they could kill, he gives Miss Watson as a substitute since she is the closest point he has to a loved ones member. It is abundantly clear in the starting of the story that Huck is self-centered and does not think about how his actions will influence those about him.

Initially, Huck acts indifferent towards Jim’s feelings as noticed via his continuous lying and pranks on Jim, but as he spends time on the Raft he begins to seriously think about the consequences of his actions. When Huck lies about the fog that rolls in on the raft, Jim finds out and becomes upset. Even though Huck feels little remorse about the lie, he nevertheless apologizes to Jim. “It was fifteen minutes ahead of I could perform myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger” (Twain 73). Whilst Huck nonetheless views Jim as a lesser particular person simply because of his race, he is beginning to develop a connection with Jim to the point where he feels obliged to apologize to Jim for lying. Huck clearly feels that his connection with Jim is receiving closer. Shortly after, Huck begins to contemplate whether or not helping Jim was the right decision or not when Jim says he plans on stealing his young children too. “Here was this nigger which I had excellent as helped to run away, coming appropriate out flat-footed and saying he would steal his youngsters […] it ain’t as well late, yet–I’ll paddle ashore at the very first light, and tell” (Twain 75). Huck is presented with his most hard selection by this point in the novel, and this is the initial time where he in fact considers what he has carried out. Whilst he plans on providing up Jim, this is the initial time in the story that he really considers how his actions impact other people. As Huck is about to turn in Jim he goes against his original program and when asked about Jim’s race by several guys, Huck lies. “‘ Is your man white or black?’ I didn’t answer up prompt. […] ‘He’s white’” (Twain 76). Even though Huck’s original intent is to turn Jim in, Huck lies for him so that he is not caught. This sudden adjust of heart comes from Jim telling Huck that he is his only buddy in the globe (Twain 75). Huck does not think that slavery is inhumane now, but in this moment he lies in order to defend Jim when he demands it the most. Huck desires to protect Jim, but he can't help but struggle among society’s opinion of slavery and his own view on the depravity of enslavement.

Towards the end of the story, Huck rejects society’s established morality of slavery, but struggles with his justification of why Jim should be free of charge. When Huck is taking into consideration assisting totally free Jim, it is clear he is performing so for the incorrect motives. “It would get all around, that Huck Finn helped a nigger get his freedom and if I was ever to see anyone from that town once more, I’d be ready to lick his boots for shame” (Twain 177). Huck finds himself at conflict with his individual morality simply because he is afraid of what other people will consider of him. Huck’s counter argument for not freeing Jim is that it would make himself look poor. Huck’s motivations are nevertheless somewhat selfish at this point in the story, but he sooner or later concludes that freeing Jim is more critical than his own reputation. Huck considers writing a letter to Miss Watson to inform her about Jim’s location, but decides that Jim’s freedom is much more crucial. “I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling due to the fact I’d got to make a decision […] ‘All correct, then, I’ll go to hell’–and tore it up” (Twain 179). Huck shows that when he initially decided he wanted to go to hell to get away from Miss Watson, he did not think his actions had been evil enough for him to be sent there.

He started out in the story lying to Jim and misbehaving, which are actions that would make him much more probably go to hell. Though freeing Jim is Huck’s most important morally “good” choice, he regards it as his worst. So, even though Huck does finish up making the very best selection by freeing Jim, he is not morally conscious at this point, but rather he was just trying to aid a buddy. When Jim turns himself in to make sure Tom Sawyer receives medical consideration, Huck responds by pondering, “I knowed he was white inside, and I reckoned he’d say what he did say” (Twain 230). In the finish of the novel, Huck really sees Jim as an equal, but he does not necessarily regard all slaves as worthy of freedom. Rather, Huck recognizes Jim’s good morality, but thinks he is a lot more like a white particular person than a black particular person.

By the end of the story, Huck transforms from someone who offers small consideration for those around him to a new individual who thinks about the morality of his decisions. His initial immaturity shows that he does not care about the men and women taking care of him. At some point, he starts to show remorse for his actions that affected Jim negatively. By the finish of the story, Huck decides that Jim’s freedom is more critical than any shame he may possibly attract for freeing him. However, he is not entirely morally aware of the evils of slavery and only appears to recognize Jim as undeserving of slavery, rather than all slaves. Huck still holds racial prejudice at the end of the story, but it is clear he goes by means of a moral transition in which his sound heart wins over the morally deformed conscience in which society has influenced negatively.
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