Conformity In Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Words: 441
Pages: 2

Working thesis: In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain character of Huck reflects Emerson's idea of non conformity depicted in his essay Self Reliance Mark Twain supports Ralph Waldo Emerson’s idea that a person should act according to his own conscience, regardless of society’s expectations by showing that Huck, the protagonist, helps Jim, a runaway slave, gain his freedom despite society's views that racism is ethical.

Huck struggles with his conflict about whether to turn Jim in, as society expects, or to follow his own instincts and continue to protect Jim. Huck has been taught by Miss Watson, Jim’s owner, to believe in God and that he will go to hell if he helps Jim escape. Nevertheless, Huck makes his own decision. He debates about whether to send a letter to Miss Watson, telling her where her runaway slave is, but ultimately decides that he cannot turn Jim in. Huck exclaims, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell"—and tore it up. (248) Huck goes against what society teaches and decides that he is willing to face the consequences
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When Huck and Jim reunite after they are separated, Jim explains to Huck how well he understands his own predicament. Huck is impressed by Jim’s analysis, because he has always considered African-Americans to be unintelligent and foolish. Huck thinks to himself, “He had an uncommon level head for an African-American.” (95) Huck expresses the idea that Jim is intelligent, despite the fact that he is an African-American. By praising Jim, Huck acknowledges that Jim is different than most African-Americans. Twain shows that the general morality of his time is mistaken, because African-Americans can be smart. Twain does not feel the need to create characters who conform to society’s standards because, like Emerson, he believes that people should follow their own ethical