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Does anyone have a good quote from Huckleberry Finn about Widow Douglass's or Miss...

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rockne1932 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:33 AM via web

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Does anyone have a good quote from Huckleberry Finn about Widow Douglass's or Miss Watson's of superstitious/religious beliefs?

 

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:47 AM (Answer #1)

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Miss Watson give Huck a lecture about hell in the very first chapter.  Huck summarizes as such:  "Then she told me all about the bad place...she was going to live so as so go to the good place...she said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day with a harp and sing, forever and ever."  So, Miss Watson has a belief in heaven and hell, and heaven involved harp-playing.  She later "fetched the niggers in and had prayers", so she enforced prayer throughout the entire household, obviously thinking it that important.  In chapter two, she instructs Huck about the nature of prayer, telling him to "pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it" but later has to clarify that "the thing a body could get by praying for it was 'spiritual gifts'".

For Miss Watson, religion is an important part of her life, and these quotes help to show that.  I hope that helps!

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:52 AM (Answer #2)

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The widow Douglas and Miss Watson are both very "religious" women.  They do not believe in superstitions and try to make sure that Huck gets all the knowledge they can offer in this area.

"One morning I happened to turn over the salt-cellar at breakfast. I reached for some of it as quick as I could to throw over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead of me, and crossed me off. She says, “Take your hands away, Huckleberry; what a mess you are always making!” The widow put in a good word for me, but that warn't going to keep off the bad luck, I knowed that well enough."

"After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people."

"Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it."

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yaday | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:16 AM (Answer #3)

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Revealed in Chapter 1 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the hypocrisy of the seemingly “sivilized” Miss Watson. Huck describes Miss Watson’s constant critique and says, “…they fetched the niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was off to bed”(3). Presented, is the idea that slaves will reach a state of salvation through prayer. However, revealed is an issue of morality on part of the slave owner. Twain’s invective against slavery is shown because he motions towards a hypocritical claim of slave owners being good people because they simply have their “property” participate in Christian prayer.

Also, in Chapter 1, Miss Watson’s perception of religion being an active role in her life is presented. While being scolded about smoking, Huck says, “Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody…yet finding a power of fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in it”(2). Miss Watson is a faithful Christian who uses pages of the Bible to guide her life. This is the opposite of Huck who, unknowingly, sees only practical applications of religion. Again, a sense of hypocrisy is revealed because Miss Watson’s knowledge of biblical references acts as an excuse for her own actions – she takes snuff but scolds Huck for smoking.

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