The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

A Collision of Conscience and Morality

Huckleberry Finn is a young boy who struggles with complex issues such as empathy, guilt, fear, and morality in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There are two different sides to Huck. One is the subordinate, easily influenced boy whom he becomes when under the "guide" of the racist and immoral Tom Sawyer. His other persona surfaces when he is on his own, thinking of his friendship with Jim and agonizing over which to trust: his heart or his conscience. When Huck's ongoing inner struggle with his own duality forces him to makes difficult and controversial choices, the reader sees a boy in the throes of moral development. And it is, indeed, a struggle. For, although Huck believes in the rules of the rigidly racist and provincial society in which he lives, a deeper and sounder part of him keeps making decisions that break those very same rules.

Due to the society in which Huck was brought up, his racist mindset is apparent throughout the novel. Huck makes many derogatory statements towards Jim, and even though he doesn't realize what he's saying is wrong, Huck's words leave the reader with a strong impression of his socially embedded racism. Towards the end of the novel, when Jim risks his...

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