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A Society Without Knowledge Far too often in society people's lack of knowledge of a subject causes their opinions and actions to rely strictly on stereotypes created by the masses. This affliction is commonly known as ignorance. This is curable but people have to become open-minded and leave their reliance on society's viewpoints behind them. In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the ignorance of society becomes extremely evident at many parts of the book.
Society forms ideals for all walks of life and then lets them become like stone in their minds. Thus, once a person has been put into a group they will remain there forever. The ignorance of society is clearly seen when one looks at Huck Finn, Jim the Slave, Pap, and the senseless violence of the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons. Many people saw Huckleberry Finn as a mischievous boy who was a bad influence to others. Society refused to accept Huck as he was and wasn't going to change its opinions about him until he was reformed and civilized. The Widow Douglas and Miss Watson try to "sivilize' Huck by making stop all of his habits such as smoking, etc.
They try to reverse all of his teaching from the first twelve years of his life and force him to become their stereotypical good boy. The rest of the town also refused to view him as good until they received visual proof of this. Until then he would be viewed as someone undesirable. The only time that the town's people were able to put away their views of Huck was when there was excitement to be found, like when they all crowded on the steamboat to see if the cannons can bring Huck's body to the surface. Everyone got interested in him and tried to show that they cared about him, but this is only after he is presumed dead.
They take on these views to follow society in its ignorance. Few of them would have cared about Huck before because they didn't know him and didn't want to know him, but since taking interest in mysteries was the popular thing to do society did it. Society once again set the stereotypes in another section of the book by their feelings toward Jim and Pap. Society automatically sees a black person, and even further slaves, as inferior. They never thought of slaves a human beings, only as property. A slave, such as Jim, could be the nicest, most caring person you have ever met, but since he is a slave he would be presumed incapable of such things.
While society is doing this it will let a person whom is as evil as Pap go on without question. Society's ignorance shines radiantly once again. They have the knowledge that Jim is a slave but make no judgments on his personality. This is shown when they assume that Jim killed Huck just because he ran away near the time of Huck's death. They don't consider the motives of such an action, but just look at the surface facts that he might do this because he is savage, missing, and possibly in the area at the time.
Pap is also suspected, but not as much as Jim even though he has a motive, and could have easily committed such an evil deed in one of his drunken stupors. Society, because of their lack of knowledge of the personality of Jim, automatically assumes that he is the one that committed the murder. Society makes superficial accusations because it doesn't know what has really happened or of the true feelings of the two suspects. In another part of the novel the Twain illustrates the ignorance of society very well with the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons. When Buck Grangerfords was questioned about why he shot at Harvey Shepardsons he first exclaims in disbelief that Huck doesn't know what a feud was.
Then, however, he doesn't know why the two families are feuding in the first place and hasn't made any effort to find out. It is remarkable that people will continue on an old grudge without knowing how it originated. On top of that, they won't make any attempts to gain knowledge about the subject. Buck, in this fragment of the novel, represents how society often bases its actions on what it has been told by others without questioning the motives. Without true knowledge of why the feud is occurring one might wonder how people could continue on with the killing. It may seem bizarre but so are many of the other actions of society.
When a large group of people takes one viewpoint others are often forced into this mentality even if they are more enlightened. People can oppress others into conditions by forcing their incorrect views on them. They often will not allow people to rise through the ranks without blatant proof of improvement. People can be falsely accused by the oblivious members of society who only consider the surface instead of looking deep for true knowledge. Society constantly judges people based on stereotypes of a certain group and it often fails to consider the personality of an individual. Society takes action without being properly informed or will take up arms against opposing groups just because someone who it respect has blindly told them to.
The ignorance of Society constantly cause people, issues, and views to be regarded in adverse ways. JSS@BHS.
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