Conflict In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1394 words - 6 pages

Perhaps the greatest battle in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is that of the titular character with the society he lives. As he matures throughout the book, Huck cultivates ethical beliefs and a social conscience which he understands to be quite different from that of his society. In the beginning of Huck Finn, social standards are beginning to increasingly influence Huck. However, as Huck is forced to flee from society, he finds that what is socially acceptable and his own beliefs are often in contrast. Huck is faced with this moral dilemma but ultimately chooses his own principles over what society prescribes; this is represented as his personal triumph over a society Twain depicts as fundamentally corrupt. In the final stage of the book, society returns in the form of Tom Sawyer, but through his experiences on the river, Huck has matured; he is better able to distinguish between societal beliefs and his own, and choose the latter.At the commencement of the novel, Huck is being drawn into the commonly held social views of his town of St. Petersburg, even though he actively tries to resist this. Huck explains to the reader repeatedly that he dislikes becoming "sivilized", yet he is ever more concerned with the familiar institutions that are part of society, such as school and church. Huck's frustration with the petty rules and order of society as compared with his previous, carefree life is illustrated by his statement, "Well, then, the old thing commenced again. The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals" (Twain 2), which indicates Huck's complete disregard for all things that society considers to be "proper". Especially indicting (and amusing) is his portrayal of religion as nothing more than "grumbling a little over the victuals". However, Huck eventually starts being transformed bythe society he is perpetually living in, and becomes more accommodating of it, as evidenced by his declaration, "I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones, too, a little bit. The widow said I was coming along slow but sure, and doing very satisfactory. She said she warn't ashamed of me." (Twain 15) Here, Huck is warming up to the possibility of becoming a functioning, conforming member of society, something he is only beginning to realize due to his imperfect upbringing. Huck's idea of conforming to society is also influenced by his recognition that the people he respects and admires, such as Tom, Judge Thatcher, and Widow Douglas are normal members of society. However, the reader perceives that Huck finds something intangibly unsatisfactory about civilized society, a notion that is fully realized when Huck becomes removed from society.Only because of his isolation from society does Huck eventually develop his set of values so radically different...

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