The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Decent Essays

Vigilantism is the act of an individual imposing what he sees as justice on others. While this may seem noble, vigilantes are often misled, and end up corrupting what they wish to preserve. Mark Twain’s prolific novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, clearly displays the corruption of justice that takes place when vigilantes roam free. Vigilantism is responsible for unneeded violence, poorly constructed punishments, and the belief that violence is the only answer. In his story, Twain attacks the unneeded violence that vigilante’s use. During his time with the Grangerfords, Huck witnesses problem first hand. The Grangerfords are entwined in a fatal feud with the Shepherdson family. When two members from the warring families attempt to elope, one of the Grangerfords (named Buck) “loaded up his gun en ‘lowed he’s gwyne to fetch home a Shepherdson or bust,” (Twain 114).These two families openly employ vigilante justice for retribution of perceived wrongdoings. Due to their readiness to take the law into their own hands, they can employ however violent or severe a punishment. If this vigilantism was not prevalent, saner heads would (likely) prevail, and rather than attempt (and succeed) in killing each other, the families would be able to resolve their issues more peacefully. Later in the novel, another example of unneeded violence can be found. For much of their journey, Jim and Huck travel with a pair of conmen (referred to as the King and the Duke). Eventually, the conmen

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