Huckleberry Finn: Struggles and Morals

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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 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. Although Huck believes in the rules of the harshly racist 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 freedom to get Tom to a doctor, Huck describes Jim as being "white inside". This statement, although intended as a compliment, in fact reveals Huck's deeply fixed beliefs about blacks' inferiority. Jim is not the only slave that Huck thinks of as lower than whites. When Jim is telling Huck about how he plans on stealing his children back once he becomes free, Huck expresses his horror: "It most froze me to hear such talk...Here was this nigger which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children - children that belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever done me no harm." Huck's words prove that he thinks of slaves only as property. When he thinks of Jim's family members, he does not associate them with his idea of what a white...
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