The Influence of Society in Mark Twain’s the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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In every day life, society affects the way a person thinks and act without them even being aware of it. This leads to the more human side of society being a huge influence on mentality, too. This can be both dangerous and toxic for a person considering the affects of it and authors often take this into account. This results in literature about how society affects the protagonist and everyone around them negatively. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain explores the flaws in the society and how it can impact the morality of the people living within that society.

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In the novel, the people seem to let fear get in the way of doing something hard, however when there is no fear the people seem to be eager to help out The novel states And there was the ferry boat full of people, floating along down .they was firing the cannon, trying to make the carcass come to the top (Twain 49). This is important because when Huck was in trouble, no one was willing to come save him. But when they had to search for him, there wasnt anything for the people to fear of confronting Pap and everyone seemed to want to help look for Huck. The reader can see that the fear even applies to our modern society in some ways, too. Whenever people are confronted with the difficult or the scary, they usually turn the other way or step back because the believe they should not have to deal with it. Mark Twain could have been conveying this point through Hucks situation, too.

Secondly, throughout the novel Twain seems to convey the point that Jim is not treated fairly by the society and the people around him, which makes the reader think about their morals on compassion for others. In the story, Sarah Williams says So theres a reward out for him- three hundred dollars (Twain 76). By putting a bounty on Jim, society is not respecting him as his own free person. Instead, it showed that he was disrespected by everyone around him and that they did not view him as an equal. This is both uncompassionate and cruel towards Jim and no one should ever be treated this way. The second way he is treated unfairly is When Huck and Tom force Jim to do all of these tasks in order to escape. This shows that in that moment, Huck had forgotten that Jim had helped him through this whole journey. People in modern society can be like this, too at times. Children can forget the kindness their parents show them on a regular basis and people can even forget the trouble and conflicts others have saved them from. People of the time might have read this and judged both Huck and Tom, but they forget that they can be like this too sometimes because the society we live in seems to forget how to be compassionate to others at times.

Next off, the society in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn seems to be controlled by lies and the people often do not think of the long-term consequences. An example of this is when Pap is speaking in court, Pap said hed been a man that had been misunderstood before and the judge said that he believed it (Twain 29). It leads the reader to think that the society believes lies very easily. This also majorly impacts Hucks life, too. It causes himself to fake his own death in-order to escape this awful man and get a better life of adventure. In reality-Huck is running away from the consequences of Paps lies and the life he would have to bear if he did not run away.

Another instance of the lies came from Huck when he, the duke, and the dauphine pretended to be the sisters three uncles. This caused controversy for the family of the deceased father and the people of the town more than it helped them. This got them into more trouble than anything by pretending to be the uncles. The author shows us this when the judge puts them on trial to prove they are the real uncles and says, Theres one way yet- lets go dig up the corpse and look. (Twain 267). Showing that they had gotten themselves into a lie they could not get out of. Twain could have been writing about the issue of lying in his society at the time, because no matter what time-period a reader is in, lying is still a relevant problem. This could be a range from tiny white lies to huge impactful ones. Lies are still lies and people should think about the long-term consequences, no matter how small or big they are.

The reason these points are important is because Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, seemed to have an underlying theme regarding the faults in society. First was the way he touched on fear in society that caused people to decide against action. The next was Twain touching on compassion in society using Jims character and situation. And lastly because of the lies that the society seemed to encourage and their consequences. In conclusion, the moralities of the people are heavily molded by the society and it is something we need to be aware of within our own society as well.

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The Influence of Society in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (2019, May 18). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from
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