Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Irony of Huck Finn's Decision

There is a fine line between good and evil. However, the line between what people believe to be good and believe to be evil is much more undefined. In The Adventures of Huck Finn, one of the disputable topics mentioned is that of slavery. In the time period of Huck Finn, the majority of people believed slavery was a good practice. Today, the majority of people have changed their mind, believing that slavery was bad. One of the undisputable topics is Heaven and Hell. Heaven is where good people reside, and Hell is where the evil people inhabit. However, the disputable topic of slavery is brought up again. Huck decides to free Jim, after all the good Jim’s done, from being sold back into slavery. Like every action, there is always a consequence. Huck exclaims, "All right then, I'll go to hell" (Twain 207). The irony is that Huck is doing a good thing, liberating someone who deserves freedom; yet he believes he will be punished for it by spending his afterlife in Hell. Hell is for evil people, not good people that free slaves. Huck’s belief of reprimand is heavily dependent upon the morals of society at that time.

Many people look back upon the time of early America as a time of backwardness. People’s morals depended not only on law, but also greatly on religion. Today, morality is based upon both the former and latter, but the latter is less emphasized. When contemplating his moral dilemma, Huck’s argument with himself turned to the Lord and his messengers. “ . . . There was the Sunday-school, you could ‘a’ gone to it; and if you’d ‘a’ done it they’d ‘a’ learnt you there that people that acts as I’d been acting about that nigger goes to everlasting fire” (Twain 206). It was illegal to help slaves escape or runaway slaves to safety. Illegality and Hell are both bad things, and people deliberately used these bad things together to make others listen to and follow instructions. This shows how much law and religion coincided with each other. The laws of the time are ironic. People believed dutifully in all aspects of religion, yet they did not truly take the aspects to heart. The people up there are believed to love everyone equally, and the congregation knows this. However, in those days, the people down here still treated blacks poorly, and made them their slaves. If the higher powers love everyone equally, then everyone should treat each other equally.

1 comment:

  1. Nice ideas with solid support. Keep up the good work in class.