Huck Finn – Themes
Formal Education vs Moral IntelligenceRepeatedly Huck encounters situations which require a moral decision. He usually can differentiate between a bad moral choice and good one. He has no time for stories supplied to him by Widow Douglass and Miss Watson. He finds this life constraining and false and would rather live free and wild.Quotation: Chap 1 p. 6“After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn’t care no more about him, because I don’t take no stock in dead people.”
| The Uncivil Civilized SocietyChap 18 P. 109 An example of Civil and Religious Hypocrisy: Huck questions Buck about the feud and he naively explains that it is a quarrel one man has with another man. He kills him, and the brothers retaliate with more killing until “everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud.” The feud started 30 years ago, but nobody knows why. On Sunday the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons sit in church together with their guns held “between their knees” while they listen to the minister’s sermon on brotherly love.Attempted Lynching of Colonel Sherburn. Chap 22 p. 144SummaryAfter the shooting of Boggs the drunk, someone in town suggests that Colonel Sherburn should be lynched.The crowd turns into an angry mob, stopping at nothing in pursuit of revenge against Sherburn. But Colonel Sherburn’s speech to the would-be lynch mob is a harsh invective against mob action of any kind. Twain speaks out against lynch mobs who do not fight with courage but come like cowards in the middle of the night wearing masks. As Sherburn demonstrates, the mob crumbles with cowardice when they come face to face with one strong individual Quotation:‘The idea of YOU lynching anybody! It’s amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a MAN! Because you’re brave enough to tar and...
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