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Huck Finn: Conscience and Motives

Would take the organs of a critically ill child amount to a gift of life for another, causing good to come out of a tragic situation? Or would it be murderous “baby harvesting,” a grisly example of the end justifying the means? This ethical controversy over the practice of fetal-tissue in medicine has raised heated debates, such as these, concerning the issue. The dilemma however results in a self-contradicting solution; where the outcome always ends in the death of innocent life.

Huck too was also faced with a similar paradox; where the decision to either obeys society or his own conscience seemed to have no good answer. Through his judgment though, we see the growth of his character as well as his friendship with Jim.

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One way we can see Huck’s growth is through his response towards Jim’s running away. At the time society viewed slaves as property; making them nothing more than a possession to those who owned them. Huck, however, saw Jim as a person and not as a belonging. He also clearly knew the consequences he could face for not turning a runaway slave in. “People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum – but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t a-going to tell.” (Huck, 50) Huck’s choice not to turn Jim in shows his willingness to take a chance for Jim’s freedom, and that unlike society, he saw Jim as a person.

A second change that is seen in Huck is after he played the snake trick on Jim. When the innocent prank, Huck intended for it to be, backfired and hurt Jim, he felt guilty for doing it. “Then I slid out quiet and threw the snakes clear away amongst the bushes; for I wasn’t going to let Jim find out it was all my fault, not if I could help it.” (Huck, 59) Even though Huck was too proud to admit he’s wrong to Jim, he began to see him not just as a person, but someone who had felt physically and emotionally.

Third and for most Huck’s growth and visible friendship with Jim is seen through his apology for yet another trick he played on him. “It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a black person; but I did it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterward, neither.” (Huck, 89) This is extremely important because it shows the closing gap between the two despite their wide class range.

Through these events we begin to see the development of Huck and Jim’s friendship as they become more balanced to one another; and the change in Huck’s moral aspects.

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Huck Finn: Conscience and Motives. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved July 8, 2021, from