Is it the standards set by society or is it something that goes deeper than mere social customs to define one’s individual behavior? What happens to the individual who determines for himself whether to adhere to the social custom or the deeper…
In each case, he must decide to do what he’s been taught is right by civilized society or to do what he feels in his heart is the right thing to do. As he floats on his raft, he reflects on the choice he made and the reasons he made them. In doing this, he develops his own sense of morality that is free and different from what he’s been taught. From Huck’s introduction as a crude and uncivilized boy in sore need of ‘proper’ upbringing through to his final decision to head west in order to avoid that civilizing influence, Twain demonstrates the gross discrepancies within actual social behavior. Yet, this is not the reason the book is frequently considered for banning.
From the opening words, Huckleberry Finn, understood to be highly uneducated and uncivilized, presents the reader with his understanding of the world around him. The first sentence gives this impression as Huck introduces himself: “You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter” (1). While Huck prefers his “old rags and my sugar-hogshead” (2), admitting that he is “so ignorant and so kind of low-down and ornery” (17), the older ladies who care for him insist upon him being dressed decently and gaining some book learning. The way that he is seen to embrace the wild life and reject the rules of his society is often considered dangerously influential upon young minds. However, as he begins to settle into town life, Huck begins to feel more at home with it, “I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones too, a little bit. The widow said I was coming along slow but sure and doing very satisfactory. She said she warn’t ashamed of me” (23). Huck has gone from an ignorant, abused and neglected child of the wilderness to the beginnings of an educated, well-dressed ...
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