Huckleberry Finn - Conflict Between Society And The Individual

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The theme of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is that the ideas of society can greatly influence the individual, and sometimes the individual must break off from the accepted values of society to determine the ultimate truth for himself. In Huckleberry Finn's world, society has corrupted justice and morality to fit the needs of the people of the nation at that time. Basically, Americans were justifying slavery, through whatever social or religious ways that they deemed necessary during this time.

The conflict between society and Huckleberry Finn results from Huck's non-conformist attitude. This attitude is a result of his separation from society at an early age. With a highly abusive drunkard for a father, Huckleberry Finn is forced from
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Huckleberry Finn recognizes Jim as a human being, but is fighting the beliefs bestowed upon him by a society that believes slaves should not be free. However, it is important to realize that although Huckleberry Finn's decisions create the conflict between society and himself (and that this conflict forms the theme of the novel), Huck is oblivious to the justice, the righteousness, and even the heroism of his own actions, they are simply in accordance with his own conscience.

The climax comes in chapter thirty-one of the novel, when Huckleberry Finn's moral development reaches its peak. Up until this point in the novel, Huckleberry Finn has been experiencing internal conflict concerning his treatment of Jim. Society has brought him up to believe that Jim is nothing but property, rightfully belonging to Miss Watson, and so Huck would be wrong in helping Jim flee. At the same time, however, his experiences with Jim, and his own personal instincts about the situation tell him that he is doing the right thing.

Huck feels terrible because he cannot please both voices of his conscience. Huckleberry Finn feels as though society is right, and he is wrong. At first, he begins to write a letter to Miss Watson to return Jim, but then ends up destroying the letter and deciding to help free Jim. Specifically, in the novel, Huck says, "All right, then I'll go to hell," right as he tore up the letter. This indicates that
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