Huck Finn Essay: Moral Reconciliation

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From the beginning of the story to the end, Huckleberry Finn’s morals change rather dramatically and the novel focuses largely on this. Forced to reconcile his personal feelings of friendship for an escaped slave (Jim) with what society has told him is "right," Huck learns through the course of the story to trust his moral instincts. As the story progresses, we see Huck’s character develop strong morals that eventually lead to his reconciliation.

Early in the book, Huck is shown to have a low level of maturity and is very naïve. He relies more on the opinions of others more so than his own. Huck seems to know the rightful place of a slave, especially growing up in the American South. But this changes, in time, when he meets a runaway slave named Jim on Jackson Island. Huck knows he is defying society by not turning Jim in, but he continues to stay by Jim’s side and feels he can’t betray him as their friendship grows. This is an internal moral struggle for Huck, because he knows to society he is “wrong,” but to him their friendship made it “right.”

While floating down the Mississippi, Huck and Jim come across a shipwreck. Huck, being the young, curious boy he is wants to explore it. Jim on the other hand is very reluctant to do so, but he feels obliged to follow Huck along anyways because he is a slave and Huck is white. On the wreck the two find a gang of robbers and a tied up man, they decide to leave immediately at this site. Huck and Jim then steal the robbers boat, but Huck feels a little guilty for doing this. So he makes up a story to a ferryboat watchman that his family was on the wreck and they needed help. The watchman showed up on the site just to discover that it sank, and the robbers most likely dead. Compassion is a key part in developing good morality and at this point Huck’s morality is slowly taking shape because he feels compassion for others.

During a terrible storm, Huck and Jim are separated. Jim searches for Huck, but he cannot pinpoint...
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