In Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the young protagonist Huckleberry Finn runs away from his abusive father with Jim, a black slave. Throughout the novel, Huck encounters people that fail to understand the injustice of slavery and violence, despite their education. Although Huck lacks any substantial education, his moral values and judgment are highly developed. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses uneducated, colloquial diction and deliberate syntax to provide ironic contrast between Huck’s rudimentary level of education and profound use of moral judgment.
Twain’s use of colloquial, homespun diction to veil Huck’s enlightened views on slavery and racism in the novel, creating an ironic contrast between Huck’s educated friends who remain mostly indifferent to the trials of slavery and the compassion of uneducated Huck. For example, when Jim worries that Huck will reveal his status as a runaway slave, Huck reassures him that he will keep his secret, despite the fact that “people would call me a low down abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum…but that don’t make no difference” (Twain 43). Twain’s usage of slang establishes Huck as a mostly uneducated, rural person. However, despite his lack of education, Huck understands the importance of friendship, and the necessity of breaking cruel laws in order to protect his friend. Huck possesses an ability to discern between the morally sound action and the action that laws justify, an ability that most of his educated acquaintances lack. Additionally, Huck struggles with the issue of hiding Jim or revealing him, but concludes that “it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same” (91). Twain conveys Huck’s strong ethical dilemma in a colloquial diction, which creates ironic disparity between Huck’s strong moral musings and rudimentary method of relating them to the reader. Furthermore, Huck attempts to find...
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