Huck's Moral Dilemma - Slave or Friend?
Uploaded by leam01 on Feb 16, 2000
Throughout the incident on pages 66-69 in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck fights with two distinct voices. One is siding with society, saying Huck should turn Jim in, and the other is seeing the wrong in turning his friend in, not viewing Jim as a slave. Twain wants the reader to see the moral dilemmas Huck is going through, and what slavery ideology can do to an innocent like Huck.
Huck does not consciously think about Jim’s impending freedom until Jim himself starts to get excited about the idea. The reader sees Huck’s first objection to Jim gaining his freedom on page 66, when Huck says, “Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he was most free-and who was to blame for it? Why, me. I could get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way.” Huck is hearing the voice of society at this point, not his own. He does not see a moral dilemma with Jim being free; he is opposed to the fact that he is the one helping him. This shows Huck misunderstanding of slavery. Huck does not treat Jim like a slave when they travel together, this shows the reader that Huck views Jim as an equal in most ways. Huck sees having a slave only as owning the person, not actually being a slave to someone. Therefore, when he helps Jim runaway it would be like stealing. This conscience is telling him that Miss Watson, Jim’s master, never did anything wrong to him and that he shouldn’t be doing a wrong to her by helping Jim escape. This is a totally different view of Miss Watson from Huck’s perspective. Huck always disliked Miss Watson, but now that this society voice plays a part in Huck’s judgment his views are changed. This society views allows Huck to see Jim, a friend, only as a slave and Miss Watson, almost a foe in his young views, as a dear friend. Twain is showing the reader the gross injustices of slavery in this little incident, as well as his moral opposition to slavery. Twain wants the reader to see how slavery ideology changed people, even those who didn’t understand it fully. Twain wants the reader to see how unfair slavery was in how it could even...