Societal Values vs. Moral Instincts Essay

770 Words4 Pages
On his many adventures, Huckleberry Finn encounters numerous situations in which his morality is tested or needs to be implemented. Huck has moral dilemmas to a degree, but he figures out the answer to his questions. He also figures out that sometimes, society has it all wrong, and that at times you just have to follow your heart. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain reveals that what is honorable is to follow your natural moral instincts, not what society and civilization say is moral. From the beginning of the book, it is shown that Huck is forced to conform to what others think is best for him. Huckleberry was taken in by Widow Douglas because his dad wasn’t a part of his life anymore and he needed a parent…show more content…
Society starts to become a place in which Huckleberry wants to spend less and less time interacting with as he realizes the problems people create in the world. As Huck and Jim float farther down the river, Huck’s opinion of society becomes more defined in his own mind:
I hadn’t had a bite to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens—there ain’t nothing in the world so good when it’s cooked right—and whilst I eat my supper we talked and had a good time. . . .We said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. (119)
At this point in the book Huck is thoroughly sickened by society. Compared to the incidents onshore, the raft represents a retreat from the outside world. Even the simple food Jim offers Huck is delicious in this atmosphere of freedom. Huck and Jim do not have to answer to anyone on the raft, and it represents a kind of utopian life for them. They try to maintain this peaceful separation from society and its problems, but as the raft makes its way down the river, unpleasant influences from onshore repeatedly invade the world of the raft. These influences can be connected to the people close to Huck, where clashing pieces of advice from those close to him are given throughout his life. Huck is put in a tough spot in trying to make his own decisions on what is
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