Essay on Huck Finn
Through Huck’s many adventures, his sense of morality plays a large role in the decisions he makes as well as the relationships he builds with others. Huck’s decisions and actions have the ability to change the lives of those around him; his sense of morality influences his choices, thus leading him to many difficult situations with others.
By the time that Huck decides that he is going to follow his heart and save Jim instead of turning him in, his moral development is at an increase, as opposed to his morality in the beginning of the novel.Though his intentions for saving Jim are not completely genuine, he makes the upstanding decision to save Jim and exemplifies his change of heart. Huck displays his nonconformity to the society around him by considering Jim as a friend and not as an insignificant slave. After Huck has found Jim imprisoned at the Phelps’s farm and has encountered Tom, Huck changes in his morality, causing him to make wrong and right decisions that affect lives around him.From when Huck decides to follow his heart and save Jim, the basis of Huck’s moral development grows, but under many circumstances Huck succumbs to Tom’s naivety and unethical choices, thus hindering the progression of his moral growth. The basis of Huck’s morality is developing, but under Tom’s influence Huck slowly loses his grasp on morality and submits to many of Huck’s wrongful ideas. Huck at times shows his morality by making the “right” decisions in many circumstances, but when following Tom in Tom’s plans, Huck caves into Tom’s devious, immoral, adventure seeking ideas that causes trouble for the Phelps as well as himself.
Huck possesses a desire to follow his heart to help Jim as he leaves for Silas Phelps’ farm, and the basis of that wish to be moral persists and influences a few of his actions in dealing with the Phelps: “Laws knows I wanted to go, bad enough, to see about Tom, and all was intending to go, but after that, I wouldn’t a went, not for kingdoms” (350). Huck’s basis of morality still exists even through Tom’s influence. Huck chooses the right decision to stay and keep Aunt Sally from becoming even more sorrowful.Though he knows that Tom is waiting for him, Huck stays not for the benefit of himself, but for Aunt Sally, because he sympathizes for her. Huck’s moral development progresses when not in the presence of Tom’s manipulative words, but when he is around Tom’s influence, Huck gives into falling under the impression of Tom’s ideals and ridiculous, immoral schemes. Huck considers Tom an authoritative, knowledgeable figure and follows Tom in many of Tom’s unreasonable, unethical acts regardless of the negative circumstances Huck knows will undergo: “’Now you’re talking! I says; ‘Your head gets leveler and leveler all the time, Tom Sawyer,’ I says. ‘Picks is the thing, moral or no moral; and as for me, I don’t care shucks for the morality of it nohow” (307).
Tom finds it very important that they make Jim’s escape from bondage an adventure, hence Tom and Huck must steal, life, and cheat to make their somewhat simple situation adventuresome. Huck steals the Phelps’s family’s picks, and disregards the fact that what he is doing is immoral because he is lost in the desire to free Jim out with Tom.Huck relishes in the fact that Tom is helping him and putts of his morality for adventure. Huck acknowledges the fact that stealing the picks is immoral and wrong, but is so caught up with working with Tom that he gives up on morality. Tom’s negative influence over Huck succeeds him to the end of the novel, in which Huck completely loses his sense of moral development. By the end of the novel, after Jim has been emancipated and Huck and Tom are both out of trouble, Huck’s outlook on morality changes and his moral development completely regresses and plans to regress in his subsequent journey.Having been exposed to the influences of Tom and after realizing that after the trouble they cause, that everything results in a trouble free situation with no negative circumstances, Huck feels as if his immorality is acceptable.
Jim endures much unnecessary trouble to be released from imprisonment just because of Tom’s whimsical wants and desires; Jim is treated by Huck and Tom as if his life is a trivial game that is intended for their enjoyment.Jim is not treated as a real human being, but is treated as if he were a lesser person, yet Huck is content with how everything turns out: “But I reckoned it was about as well the way it was” (360). Tom and Huck’s actions and motives to release Jim from imprisonment are completely immoral, but the fact that everything turns out satisfactory, Huck overlooks the importance of morality. Huck loses all respect for Jim as a human being, and almost considers Jim a slave again and not as a friend.Tom degrades Jim by giving him forty dollars, the same price in which Jim was sold for, in exchange for Jim’s cooperation in Tom’s fun and games; Huck gives Tom silent approval, and doesn’t object to Tom’s act of immorality. Emerson said that a great man keeps his independence and own opinions, and doesn’t conform to the ways of society. Throughout the novel, Huck has shown much self-reliance and assertiveness in his own opinions and values.
By the end of the novel, Huck is not the great man that Emerson describes.Though Huck can stand strong on his ideas and desires independently, he conforms to the ideals of society, Tom, by the end of the novel. Before Huck encounters Tom on the Phelps’s farm, he sticks true to his beliefs and his heart’s desires, yet after spending a great deal of time with Tom, he loses his values and his morals under the influence of Tom. Thus Huck is unable to not conform to those around him, therefore unable to be a “great man” in the eyes of Emerson.