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How does Huck's struggles with his conscience create "double vision"? What are the...

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exiledfusion | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 3, 2010 at 9:21 AM via web

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How does Huck's struggles with his conscience create "double vision"? What are the targets of Twain's satire here? Be specific. (passage below)

But it warn't. It was Jack-o'-lanterns, or lightning bugs; so he set down again, and went to watching, same as before. Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he WAS most free -- and who was to blame for it? Why, ME. I couldn't get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn't rest; I couldn't stay still in one place. It hadn't ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to make out to myself that I warn't to blame, because I didn't run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn't no use, conscience up and says, every time, "But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody." That was so -- I couldn't get around that noway. That was where it pinched. Conscience says to me, "What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how. THAT'S what she done."

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 3, 2010 at 9:24 AM (Answer #1)

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To me, the target of this satire is people who do not see blacks as actual human beings.  Twain is satirizing the mindset that allowed slavery to happen -- the one that said that blacks aren't people who are as valuable as other people.

To me, you see that in what Huck says about Miss Watson.  He is agonizing -- wondering how he could be so mean to someone who never did anything bad to him.  This is satirical/ironic because Miss Watson was keeping Jim (who presumably never did anything bad to her) in slavery yet Huck is worried about Miss Watson, not about Jim.

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