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Huck Finn

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Hell Rather Than Heaven

Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the greatest American novels ever written. The story is about Huck, a young boy who is coming of age and is escaping from his drunken father. Along the way he stumbles across Miss Watson's slave, Jim, who has run away because he overhead that he would be sold. Throughout the story, Huck is faced with the moral dilemma of whether or not to turn Jim in. Mark Twain has purposely placed these two polar opposites together in order to make a satire of the society's institution of slavery. Along the journey, Twain implies his values through Huck on slavery, the two-facedness of society, and represents ideas with the Mississippi River.

In his own words, Mark Twain stated, "a book of mine where a sound heart and a deformed conscience come into collision. And the conscience suffer defeat!" Huck has both a "sound heart" and a "deformed conscience," and the heart overcomes his conscience. His sound heart can be seen when he returns to Jackson Island after disguising himself as a girl. Huck rushes to Jim and says, "Git up and hump yourself, Jim! There ain't a minute to lose. They're after us!" (62). The townspeople are really looking for Jim, but Huck tells Jim that they are after "us." Huck views himself and Jim as equals. With his powerful heart, Huckleberry acts on his feelings and against what society has taught him. His conscience has been deformed because he had not received a mainstream childhood. The blending of contrasting beliefs and desire to live free have deformed his conscience. Twain wants to show that Huck can make the right decisions and defy justice. His mother had died, his dad was a drunk, and he was forced to live with a widow and her self-righteous sister. Huck's horrible childhood has deformed his conscience but not his heart. Twain uses Huck to represent the whole society and show that one person's values can overcome the evil of the society's.

Moreover, Huck decides to write to Miss Watson in order to tell her that Jim is with him and he will be returned to her. Huck feels guilty that he is helping Miss Watson's property escape. When he finishes his letter, he tears it up and states, "All right then, I'll go to hell" (214). Huck does not turn Jim in, but instead follows his heart and goes against society's teachings. He sees that going to "hell" will be better than going to the "heaven" that society wishes to go too. Also, Huck realizes that he should follow his gut instead of society's principles. From this moment on, Huck has left the civilized world and will never renter it. In the end, Jim is set free when Ms. Watson dies and frees him in her will. The themes shown in the end is that of friendship, loyalty, and the acceptance of Jim as a man. Huck thinks he has sacrificed his soul to free Jim, and Jim sacrifices his freedom and life for Huck's friend. Also, in the end Jim is a free man and a man that is a friend



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