Eng2030 Paper3

Submitted By bloodofthesoil
Words: 1142
Pages: 5

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” Mark Twain

It has been said that “All modern American Literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn’”. The book tells the readers about the culture and gives an understanding of the South before the Civil War. Religion in the southern United States has always been very important to the citizens. Mark Twain, in the novel, demonstrates his own personal belief about religion through Huck and Jim, the main characters. Twain believes that organized religion is useless. He uses Huck and Jim to give voice to his opinions. Mark Twain has said “No God and no religion can survive ridicule. No political church, no nobility, no royalty or other fraud, can face ridicule in a fair field, and live” (About.com). I wouldn’t say that Twain was an atheist but against all conventional forms of religion and proves it within his novel.
The narrative starts out introducing Huckleberry Finn, a young boy living in Missouri, who is residing with the Widow Douglas and does not have his parents in his life. His father is a drunk, and doesn’t care for Huck at all but becomes interested in him when he hears that Huck has gained a substantial amount of money. Widow Douglas, Huck's guardian who cares for him and plans to "sivilize" him, tells the story of Moses and the Bulrushers. One day "After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people" (Twain 2). Huck displays no regard for someone that is long dead, figuring that learning about them would be useless or a waste of time. Huck's disregard for deceased people hints at Twain’s belief that organized religion is unnecessary. Twain shows this by having Huck conjure his own personal thoughts about religion being based on important dead people, rendering it unimportant to him.
Twain presents another example of his belief that organized religion is not of use to him when Widow Douglas discusses the subject of praying with Huck. He listens attentively and decides to consider the idea while walking "...in the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn't see no advantage about it-except for the other people; so at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it anymore, but just let it go. Sometimes the widow would take me one side and talk about Providence in a way to make a body's mouth water; but maybe next day Miss Watson would take hold and knock it all down again" (Twain 14). Here again, Twain emphasizes the fact that Huck can't find any use in religion. Any advantage he sees in it is for someone else, and not himself. Huck doesn't like the idea because it doesn't benefit him, even with "spiritual gifts" the widow Douglas emphasized. He finds his ideas of religion divided between the widow's and Miss Watson's views, but decides to drop it, and go about life with his own moral compass instead.
Huck's friend, Jim, represents Mark Twains image of how one's moral compass should guide their life. On their raft, Huck and Jim discuss the biblical King Solomon and how wise he was. After Huck explains a story, Jim argues how "De 'spute warn't 'bout a half a chile, de 'spute was 'bout a whole chile; en 'de man dat think he kin settle a 'spute 'bout a whole chile wid a half a chile, doan' know enough to come in out'n de rain" (Twain 95). Jim is representing how he sees the story, and not how a religion interprets it. Although, Jim isn't church going or religious, he knows what is right, because he has a clear moral compass that directs him. To prove this, he made his own decision about how a tale should be understood.
Further in the novel, we meet up with the King and the Duke, who are con artists that are