Society vs. Heart in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn Ernest Hemmingway once described a novel by Mark Twain as, “…it is the ‘one book’ from which ‘all modern American literature’ came from” (Railton). This story of fiction, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is a remarkable story about a young boy growing up in a society that influences and pressures people into doing the so-called “right thing.” It is not very difficult to witness the parallels between the society Huck has grown up in and the society that influences the choices of people living today. However, what is it that gives society the power to draw guidelines to define the norms, trends, and what is morally right and wrong in life? Is it always the best choice to listen to your consciences, which is under the influence of society, or is it sometimes just as important to listen to your heart and what you think is right?
Society has always denounced the acts of death and children running away from their homes. Huck can be seen as a morbid child as he is always talking about death and murder. Society would rather not have anything to do with people who have such a melancholic outlook on life. Living with years of torment by his drunkard father, Pap, Huck feared the day he would return to daunt his life. When Pap does return, he seizes Huck and drags him to a secluded cabin where Huck is boarded inside and unable to leave: This is where the dilemma occurs. In this position, Huck has a decision to make, either take note to the morals of society and listen to his conscience, which will result in more added years of pain and anguish from Pap, or Huck can listen to his heart and do what he thinks is best.
Huck’s situation is so extreme (the mental and physical abuse from Pap) that he cannot take it anymore. He does what he thinks is best; Huck listens to heart rather than his conscience. In order to get away from Pap, Huck organizes an elaborate plan to arrange his own death and run away – both denounced by society – from the prison cell (cabin) and Pap. Huck, for the first time in his life, had felt what it is like to be free: “The sky looks ever so deep when you lay down on your back in the moonshine; I never knowed it before” (Twain 46).
Every incident where Huck is faced with a dilemma, the situation seems to intensify. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first pub…
… losing the acceptance of a social group, listening to the heart will leave individuals with a feeling of fulfillment and happiness. The socially unacceptable is only unacceptable because there are new ideas society is not use to: “Society opposes the good idea when it is not an accepted routine” (Growth Online). Individuals who listen to their heart have something extra than people who listen to their conscience, which is true self-respect: “The individual’s trust in himself [or herself] is superior in his [or her] trust in the society” (Growth Online).Works Cited
“Growth Online.” Social Influence on the Individual. 06 Apr. 2005
Hona, Leah. “Julie and the “Real World”.” About. 08 2000. 06 Apr. 2005
King, Larry.”Larry King Live.” What’s Driving the Popularity of`Reality TV’?. 27 2000. Transcript. 06 Apr 2005Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 07 Apr. 2005 .
The Mormon Church has a poor record on free speech. 07 Dec 2002. 06 Apr. 2005 .
Railton, Stephen. Mark Twain in His Times. 05 Apr. 2005
“Remembering Brian Deneke.” Brian Deneke Memorial Committee. 05 Apr. 2005
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.