A Book Full of Conflicts Essay

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"We are not one people. We are two peoples. We are a people for Freedom and a people for Slavery. Between the two, conflict is inevitable” - Horace Greeley. After American Civil War, the long period of historical conflicts seems came to an end as the dawn of impending union. However, collision never extinct from history, or avoid by human population just as the word “conflicts” never vanish in Twain’s work of art. In this sense, the novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry” Finn is a reflection and demonstration of conflicts. Mark Twain explores the complexity and collision over many issues in the full-of-conflicted novel. The book reveals not only the struggles between conscience and mortality, civilization and natural life, but also shows the clashes between shore and river. The collision of conscience and mortality is an inevitable conflict under Twain’s words.
The heroes in many ways embody and demonstrate the crash of conscience and morality throughout the book. One of the major struggles is the main character Huck’s inner battle in regard to the question of slavery and his inborn mortality. When the time Huck, a young boy who struggles with complex issues such as fear, guilt, empathy and morality, come to the time to make decision whether or not he should turn Jim in as a runaway slave: “I can tell you it made me all over tremble and feverish, because I couldn't get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way……conscience up and says, every time, ‘But you knew he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody.’” (Twain 263) Huck knows what is correct in his heart, however, his subordinate conscience has been misinformed and shaped by society's ideals. Therefore, his heart and his mind contradict each other in matters or moral decisions as he has a sound heart and a deformed conscience. He has had his conscience taught and formed with regards to how society feels and what society teaches on regards to morals, but decisions help to morally define Huck. Nevertheless, some decision does not define moral, but rather comfort Huck’s conscience, especially over the concept of borrow: “So the best way would be for us to pick out two or three things from the list and say we wouldn't borrow them any more—then he reckoned it wouldn't be no harm to borrow the others.” (Twain 199) Huck just can't seem to avoid these moral encounters as he finds his middle ground: take home some things, but leave the rest. On the other hand, it is like people robbing an ice cream shop and making off ice cream, while leaving the cup holder and straw to make their conscience feel better. Mark Twain well depicts the struggles between conscience and morality in the novel.
Another foremost conflict of the book is the collision between the civilization and natural life. Throughout the entire novel, Huck represents the natural life through his uncivilized way, the spirit of freedom, as well as the desire to escape from civilization. The conflicts are introduced since the beginning of the novel through the effort of his guardian Widow Douglas: “pretty soon she would say, ‘don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry-why don’t you try to behave.’…… The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me.”(Twain 18) as Huck was raised without any rules, restriction, or any disciplines, he bears strong immunity and resistance to anything that might try to “sivilize” him. By the ending of the novel, Huck seems to suggest that the uncivilized – natural way of life is more desired and morally superior to human being. By understanding the book, it is clear on Twain’s point of view that civilization is more likely a corruption, rather than the internal improvement of human being. It matches the idea of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau as he saw in civilization in itself the origins of inequality. Instead of handing his life to the great civilization, he is more intimate to nature which certainly is not a big