Huck Finn : The Characters Of Huckleberry Finn

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One of the many parts of Huckleberry Finn that readers may find important to the novel’s development is when Huck Finn decides to “go to hell” rather than return his good friend, Jim, to slavery. In this scene, Huck is informed that Jim was captured and sold to the Phelps. At first, he writes a letter to notify Jim’s former owner of her runaway slave’s location, this would result in Jim being returned to her. The text states “I felt good and all washed clean of sin… but laid the paper down… I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him… I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things… I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: ‘All right then, I’ll go to hell’- and tore it up…I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog” (Twain, 216-217). Instead of sending the letter, Huck has actually chosen to steal Jim out of slavery. In this short passage, Huck made a choice of paramount importance as this decision helped create the novel’s theme and contributed to the growth of his character. Throughout the novel, Twain gradually forms the theme that civilization and morality cannot always be present at the same time. The idea of civilization vs. morality is shown in various sections of the text and is fortified within this scene. Huck was raised in a so-called “respectable” society that attempted to
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