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The Conflict Between the Individual and Society

Uploaded by zombie2983 on May 30, 2000

The conflict between society and the individual is a theme portrayed throughout Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Huck was not raised in accord with the accepted ways of civilization. Huck faces many aspects of society, which makes him choose his own individuality over civilization. He practically raises himself, relying on instinct to guide him through life. As portrayed several times in the novel, Huck chooses to follow his innate sense of right, yet he does not realize that his own instincts are more moral than those of society.

From the very beginning of Huck's story, Huck without a doubt states that he did not want to conform to society; "The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me... I got into my old rags and my sugar hogshead again, and was free and satisfied"(Twain, 2). Miss Watson lives with Huck and she is always picking at him, trying to make him become conventional. According to the essay, The Struggle to Find Oneself Huck has become so used to being free that he sees the Widow Douglas' protection solely in terms of confinement. She doesn’t let Huck smoke when he wants and she is always nagging. “Miss Watson would say, "Don't put your feet up there, Huckleberry;" and "Don't scrunch up like that, Huckleberry -- set up straight;" and pretty soon she would say, "Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry -- why don't you try to behave?"(Twain, 3). We get the feeling that Huck is an individual, a person who is independent and has the willingness to live a life free of complications. According to Ryan Schremmer’s essay Examination of Freedom as an Overall Theme in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the theme of freedom is shown in Huckleberry Finn, which parallels to his distancing from society:
One of the most prominent and important themes of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is freedom. Freedom not only from Huck's internal paradoxical struggle in defining right and wrong, but also freedom from Huck's personal relationships with the Widow Douglas and his father, as well as freedom from the societal institutions of government, religion, and prejudices.

When Pap returns for Huck, and the matter of custody is brought before the court, the reader is forced to see the corruption of society. The judge rules that Huck belongs to Pap, and forces him to obey an evil and abusive man. One who drinks...

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Uploaded by:   zombie2983

Date:   05/30/2000

Category:   The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

Length:   5 pages (1,096 words)

Views:   1952

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