Huckleberry Finn and "Self-Reliance"

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain mainly takes place on and along the Mississippi River in about 1840. Mark Twain puts the main character, Huckleberry Finn, in many situations that cause him to reflect back on himself and his character in order to make his decisions. Many of the decisions Huck makes can be directly connected to an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson “Self-Reliance”. Emerson strong believed in the idea non-conformity and self-reliance or doing as you believed right.

Emerson himself is a non-conformist and strongly believes that people need to do as they believe right and not as society tells them. In his essay “Self-Reliance” he writes “Whoso would be a man, must be a non-conformist. He who would rather gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness”(364) Huckleberry Finn is a non-conformist in everything he does. No one would ever even consider to run a way with and help a black man. But Huck does, he says to Jim

'Well, I did. MI said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. Honest injun, I will. People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum-but that don't make no difference. I ain't a-going to tell, and I ain't a-going back there, anyways. So, now, le's know all about it.' ”

Right there Huck demonstrates his non-conformist character by promising Jim he won't turn him in.
Emerson believed that each individual had a right and responsibility to think for themselves and decide for themselves what the truth is. He believed that society held too much influence in guiding what people thought or how they behaved. “Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong is what is against it...”(364) Huck Finn demonstrated this internal instinct for good that Emerson believed in when he decided he would do not as society told him was right but as he believed for he would...
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