Tracing the Moral Development of Huck Finn
Living in the 1800’s wasn’t an easy task. There were many hardships that a person had to endure. In the novel, The Adventures of Huck Finn, the author Mark Twain portrays the adventure of a young boy. Huck, the young boy, goes on a journey with various dilemmas. The novel starts off in Missouri on the Mississippi River. Huck is taken from his guardians by his father and then decides to runaway from him. On his journey, he meets up with his former slave, Jim. While Huck and Jim are traveling down the Mississippi River, they meet a variety of people. Throughout the novel he takes on many different tasks which help shape his moral conscience. Taking on a new friend which society shuns, being without material possessions, and taking responsibility for his actions help Huck refine and reform the morals that make him a more mature young man.
Huck develops morally from his companion on his journey, Jim, a runaway slave. At first, Huck doesn’t respect Jim because he’s his slave. “He slipped Jim’s hat off his head and hung it on a limb right over him” P.6. This shows how Huck likes to trick Jim and play games on him. Later the two meet up on an island and immediately befriend and join up together. “I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that if I’d ‘a’ knew it would make him feel that way.” P.86. Huck says this after fooling Jim and telling him that a real event was just a dream of his. He realizes that he has played a harsh trick on Jim and vows never to do it again. Another time, Huck makes a crucial decision when he decides to go find Jim. “Then I’ll go to Hell.” P.215. Finally, after developing a good relationship, Huck realizes that Jim is a person and that society is wrong about him. “I knowed he was white inside” P.276.
Huck values many materialistic items, and one of which is money. Huck begins with $6,000 in the bank, which he asks for the interest everyday, in order to buy things like fishing line or hooks. Once on the journey, Huck doesn’t have money but he comes to find that he doesn’t need it. “Sometimes we would drift on the raft without any clothes on, and just lie back and watch the sky.” P.143. This shows how he has discovered that he can live on his own with out material possessions and still be content.
Many risks have happened throughout the novel and Huck grows to make the right decisions. In the beginning, Huck is a child and is always looking for the easy way out by lying or cheating. “No ma’am, I wasn’t doin’ nuthin’.” P.233. At this situation, Huck is caught being mischievous and instead of telling the truth, he lies inorder to get out of trouble. Eventually, Huck grows up and sees that he should take responsibility for his actions. “…I told Tom I was going for a doctor.” P.276. Huck does the responsible thing, and by doing this, he may have saved his best friends life.
People change everyday in every way, it just takes a certain journey to realize what to change about ourselves. Huck has found his faults and his positive feelings and refined them to his liking and not to what society wants him to do. In conclusion, while traveling along one’s own “river of life”, there will be hardships, good times, and internal struggles, but if one allows it, moral development and maturity can occur, creating a unique character that could be emulated by all.