Huck Finn's Morality and Perception in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

954 WordsFeb 19, 20184 Pages
Mohandas Gandhi once said, “Morality is rooted in the purity of our hearts.” However, it may not hold true in Twain’s novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the novel, the protagonist Huck Finn’s morality and perception of others is shaped by the society he lives in, demonstrating that an individual’s morality or the epistemological sense of right and wrong can be largely influenced by society and the living environment. Yet despite strong traditions of the 19th century south, Huck is able to live away from the “civilized” world, leaving behind his hometown and travelling down the Mississippi river with Jim, a runaway slave. Huck’s unusual experiences with Jim contrast with his predetermined notions of race and power in the midst of the Jim Crow Era, thrusting Huck into a great crisis of morality dictated by his consciousness instead of his intellect. Through Huck’s journey in the search of morality, Twain conveys the theme that that morality is dictated by society, despite the goodness of an individual’s consciousness, it is difficult for and individual to intellectually challenge societal paradigms. Huck’s decision to lie in the protection of Jim based on his kindness instead of an intellectual criticism of racist practices demonstrate that society has penetrated the moralities of individuals. This instance happens as he and Jim draw near Cairo, a small town along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The arrival at Cairo is critical for Jim, as journeying up the Ohio River
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