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Human Nature and Society Presented Through Huckleberry Finn

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Human Nature and Society presented through Huckleberry Finn.

By Marina Brewer

Mark Twain opposed many of the ideologies of his time. Through his novel Huckleberry Finn, he explored human nature and the society. He made apparent his dislike for them. The book focus's on the general treatment of black people during this time. Specifically, the author criticizes morality, slavery and racism.

The characters encountered in Huckleberry Finn do not have very high moral standards. Many of them think and act very irrationally. In Chapter six, the newly appointed judge in town denied the widow and Judge Thatcher custody of Huck, despite Pap's abusive, alcohol dependent

history. Here the author criticized the knowledge and decisions of society's authority figures.

Throughout the book Twain attempts to portray the inhumane society he observed. People were treated very differently according to wealth, race or social stature. In Chapter eleven, Ms. Loftus sympathizes with Huck, a runaway and aids him in his travels, providing food and comfort. Ironically when the runaway was a black slave, her only concern was turning him in for a reward.

As Huck travels further with Jim, their bond grows stronger. He realizes how Jim and others are being mistreated and taken advantage of. Despite this, Huck was still bombarded with the idealisms proposing slavery. When faced with the options of turning Jim in or not, it was a difficult choice for him to make. With his decision to assist Jim in his escape, he was overcome by guilt and remorse, when in fact, morally this was the honorable and right choice. Unfortunately Huck only came to this conclusion from his feelings of guilt towards Jim. "Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genleman dat ever kep 'his promises to ole Jim." (page 124). Jim's loyalty to Huck was infinite and he put so much faith in Huck that he could not bear to betray Jim like that.

In chapter seventeen, Huck encounters the Grangerford family. They are very hospitable towards a complete stranger and treat him like a son. The Grangerford's like most other families kept black slaves. While treating Huck with great respect, the families hatred and rivalries towards others were the cause of some very untimely deaths in their own family. Here Twain illustrates the underlying consequences of people's foolish actions and their disgraceful beliefs in oppression and discrimination against others.

Huckleberry Finn extensively travels the United States. In every town he visited, owning a slave or slaves was typical for most families. Slaves were not exclusive to the rich, most common households had them. Slaves were used to carry out menial and degrading tasks for their masters. They received absolutely no respect, with inhumane treatment.

Slaves were traded, bought and sold like animals. Masters had no regard for their needs and without hesitation separated them from their families. Throughout the novel, Jim bitterly cried over the loss of his separated family. He longed to see his wife and children. The physical treatment the slaves endured was barbaric. Many were disciplined by whippings or would be starved to death by their masters. Twain

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