Mark Mr. Lorber Junior English-8 December 11, 2000 Changing Your Mind The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is based on a young boy's coming of age in Missouri of the mid-1800 s. The adventures Huck Finn works into while floating down the Mississippi River can depict many serious issues that occur on the "dry land of civilization" better known as society. As these somber events following the Civil War are told through the young eyes of Huckleberry Finn, he unknowingly develops morally from both the conforming and non-conforming influences surrounding him on his journey to freedom. Huck's moral evolution begins before he ever sets foot on the raft down the Mississippi. His mother is deceased, while his father customarily "sleeps with the pigs" in a drunken state.
Huck grows up following his own rules until he moves in with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Together, the women attempt to "sivilize" Huck by making him attend school, study religion, and act in a way the women find socially acceptable. However, Huck's free-spirited soul keeps him from joining the constraining and lonely life the two women have in store for him. It is after Huck Finn escapes to Jackson Island that he meets the most influential character of the novel, Jim. Huck's conscience reminds him that he is a "low-down and dirty abolitionist" for helping Jim run away from his owner, but Huck does not see that he is on the same path for freedom like Jim. A morality check comes across Huck, as he stumbles onto the criminals on the steamboat.
Huck shows development of character by tricking the watchman into going back to the boat to save the robbers. Even though they are thieves, and plan to to commit murder, Huck still feels tha their deaths would be too great of a punishment. Some may see Huck's reaction as crooked, but, unlike most of society, Huck Finn sees the good in people and attempts to help them with sincerity and compassion. The con-men's attempt to mascara de as the brothers of the late Peter Wilks is an important part of Huck's development. The Duke and King try to take Peter's estate, however, Huck decides to return the money to Peter's three daughters. This action demonstrates further moral growth, as he does choose to abandon the two con-men.
Huck also learns how contriving people can be while attending the funeral of Peter Wilks. Women would walk up to Peter's daughters and "kiss their foreheads, and then put their hand on their head, and looked up towards the sky, with the tears running down, and then busted out and went off sobbing and swabbing, and give the next woman a show (159)." Huck has never seen anything "so disgusting." When Huck Finn sees one of the daughters crying beside the coffin, it makes a deep impact on him. Not only did he experience his first bout with puppy love, he also feels compassion for an innocent victim. His religious beliefs and moral standards cross patches as he handles the situation. When Huck says, "All right then, I'll go to hell! (245)," it represents the highest point in Huck's moral development. He has decided to go against his conscience by freeing Jim, and in doing so, rejecting society.
While the society he has grown up in teaches that freeing slaves is wrong, Huck has evolved to a point where he can realize that what he feels is right, and that his own beliefs are superior to those of Southern civilization. Through several important events, Huckleberry Finn was able to raise above the rest of society. As a young boy, he learned many things about the cruel world, and what freedom really means. Along with other new emotions, Huck Finn has learned what it is like to show compassion and sincerity to others.
As a result, the metamorphosis of Huck Finns morality shows how one go undergo being sivilized even though the deny to learn the process. Society has come a long way since the Civil War, and it is important to realize that characters like Huckleberry Finn, have made freedom accessible to all that need a harbor from the dry limits of society.