Morality In Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1177 Words 5 Pages
After the American Civil War the view of people in society had not changed. Many people still believed in the old stereotypes. The reality was that their societal norms were not as true as they thought. In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses details, imagery, and characterization to develop a critical tone and argue that societal norms are not always true.
In the novel, Mark Twain uses details to model the error of societal norms. A good example is the episode with the Grangerford family. The Grangerfords have a feud with the Shepardsons. Both families are wealthy, educated, and religious, but are seen in church with guns. The feud has been going on for thirty years and neither family knows the exact cause. Buck
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In the beginning of the novel Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas are trying to civilize Huck. He is not used to the civilized lifestyle and it makes him feel uncomfortable and lonely. Huck goes to his room hears sounds coming in from his window, “The leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl…who-whooing…and a whippowill and a dog away off crying...and the wind was trying to whisper…it made the cold shivers run over me…I got so down-hearted and scared I did wish I had some company,” (3). The description is dark and supposed to make the reader feel uncomfortable. Twain is trying to describe the isolation of societal living. He sees society as a place that traps people and he shows nature as a place of comfort. An example is when Huck and Jim are traveling down the river in the middle of the book, “Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the water …and sometimes on the water you could see a spark or two…and maybe you could hear a fiddle or a song coming over...the sky up there, all speckled with stars… look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened," (107). Twain creates a beautiful and peaceful image of what is going on as Jim and Huck float down the river. In society it is as normal to live in a house and go to church, but Twain depicts life on the river, and in nature, as more appealing through his use of imagery. Again Twain criticizes …show more content…
Two characters that illustrate the message are Tom Sawyer and Jim. Tom Sawyer is wealthy, well-educated, white male. He is seen at the beginning and the end of the book, both times as a leader because of his background. In reality Tom is a young boy trying to live out stories he has read in books, and he is not as intelligent as society makes him out to be. Huck follows him blindly because society tells him Tom is better than he is. When the two boys try to plan an escape from the cabin for Jim, Tom immediately shuts down Huck’s idea, “’Work? Why, cert’nly it would work…But it’s too blame’ simple…Why, Huck, it wouldn’t make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory’…I never said nothing, because I warn’t expecting nothing different…he got his plan ready it wouldn’t have none of them objections to it,” (208). Twain uses Tom Sawyer to portray the higher class of the time. He portrays them as arrogant people with no problems that do not understand the price of adventure or the value of other people’s intelligence. Jim is a runaway slave. In the time period he would be the lowest of all people. Slaves were seen as stupid and thought of as property. If a slave were to run away it would be disrespecting their master. Twain uses Jim to help us see another perspective. He has a family, which he loves just like any other person and cares for Huck like a father during their whole journey.

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