Wednesday, September 9, 2009

conscience and civilization

For my initial response paper I focused on the growing maturity level of Huck Finn.  In the second half of the book I noticed the correlation of his maturity level with his development of a conscience which in turn plays into him becoming a well to do member of society i.e. civilized.  I feel as though this is an extremely important concept as well as a main theme within the book.

            We first see development of a conscience in the first half of the book when Huck is faced with helping a runaway slave; personally, I think it showed an even greater development of his ethics when he chose not to turn him in and rather embraced their friendship. 

            When the King and Duke initially come to the town to pretend to be brothers of a very profitable man Huck notes that their lack of morals was “enough to make a body ashamed of the human race”.  This statement shows how far he has come, when we are first introduced to Huck he is planning murders and highway theft with his friends. 

            Later, when the King and the Duke are in the midst of the very profitable scam Huck develops a huge sense of guilt.  In his thoughts he admits this, “this is another one that I’m letting rob her of money… I felt so ornery and low down and mean”.  He first tries to correct the harm done by returning the money and when that doesn’t work he openly admits to the scandal to Mary Jane. 

            Although Huck is at times looking out for himself he is also looking out for the best interests of those being cheated.  His conscience and his maturity go hand in hand.  It is remarkable that while being surrounded by malicious characters Huck does not become blinded by the profitable lifestyle and rather chooses to do the right thing.  

            That being said, Huck is very resistant to becoming “sivilized”, however, using the term civilized loosely his development of a conscience and sense of self in the face of society make him civilized.  So although we hear him saying he hates being civilized, in a sense he already is.

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