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Huckelberry Finn A Christian Hero?
by Caj Jastro
05/21/03
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Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer’s best friend from the first book, is around 12. His mother has passed away and his father is a selfish drunk. He tries to do what is correct, but rarely knows what the might be. Huckleberry is not a moral boy or hero because he is incapable of dealing with, or distinguishing the difference between right or wrong. He has not had a role model of good conduct or character. He does, however, have his own code of ethics. Huckleberry is open to self examination to see if this code stands up against his actions. For example, he struggles over the decision to write a letter to Miss Watson telling her the where whereabouts of Nigger Jim, her runaway slave. Jim is a husband and father who wishes to be free and to save enough money to buy his family. Jim is uneducated, superstition and loyal. Huckleberry tries to convince himself that turning Jim in is the right thing to do, but in the end, he simply can not. His own code of ethics tells him that Jim is a friend and should be treated as such. Huckleberry has a good conscience and wants to help Aunt Sally Phelps, Tom Sawyer’s aunt who takes in Huck and Tom. While Huck plans to run way, Aunt Sally stays awake worrying about Tom. Huckleberry sees her tears and says, “I wished I could do something for her, but I couldn’t, only to swear that I wouldn’t never do nothing to grieve her anymore.” Throughout the end of the book Aunt Sally is a hard working, giving, uptight woman.
Based on what Mark Twain has told us about Huckleberry Finn’s faith I must conclude that he is not, by definition a Christian. Huck believes in devils and spirits. When he was upset with himself when he hid a dead snake in Jim’s bedding because he hadn’t believed that handling a dead snake would cause bad luck. After Jim was bit by the snake’s mate Huck believed all the more in Jim’s superstitions! Huckleberry also has a good healthy fear of hell. While making the decision about the letter to Miss Watson, Huck proclaims “all right, then, I’ll go to hell” believing he had made the wrong choice. Twice Huckleberry is aware of someone praying for him. First when he escapes to Jackson’s Island and receives bread floating down the river. Huck concludes that the widow or the parson prayed that the bread would find him. The second time was much later in the story and more personal for Huckleberry. Huck tells Miss Mary Jane all about what the King of Dauphin, a bald con man about seventy and The Duke of Bilgewater, another con man about thirty, are up and how Huck has planned to help her. Mary Jane responds with gratitude and says; “I’ll think of you a many and a many a times and I’ll pray for you, too!” Huck’s view of the power of his own prayers is revealed by his following statement regarding Mary Jane. “I’ve thought of her a many and a many million times, and if I’d ‘a’ thought it would do any good for me to pray for her, blamed if I wouldn’t ‘a’ done it or bust.” Huckleberry knows some scripture from when Widow Douglas tried to ‘sivilize’ him but he does not, however, state that he believes in the son of God. Therefore I must conclude that he is not a follower of Christ, a Christian.

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