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What is Huck`s moral dilemma in "Huck Finn" and how does he solve it?

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sweetsoso | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:47 AM via web

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What is Huck`s moral dilemma in "Huck Finn" and how does he solve it?

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porcellam | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:58 AM (Answer #1)

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Huck's moral dilema falls into the category of "god's law-vs-man's law" (to borrow from Antigone). For example he KNOWS it's wrong to lie (God's law), but he also knows that Jim isn't a piece of property (man's law). So, he has to wage a war with his own conscience about whether he will uphold what is morally right in order to do what feels right. He decides he will "go to hell" in order to protect Jim and gain freedom for both of them.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 4, 2008 at 12:02 PM (Answer #2)

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The dilemma lies in Huck's decision to turn in Jim, a runaway slave who belongs to the Widow Douglas, or to keep his mouth shut and allow Jim to escape.

This would not have been a dilemma for Huck had they not spent so much time together on the island and the raft getting to know one another.  Huck grew up believing that black people were meant to be owned and live their lives as slaves and white people were meant to own them.  Getting to know Jim, Huck now recognizes him as a living, breathing, thinking, feeling PERSON.  The fact that he is black is now almost irrelevant. Huck considers Jim a friend...not just property someone he knows owns.  However, the dilemma is that he feels a responsibility to his heritage and to Widow Douglas AND his new friend, Jim.  He elects to go with friendship and risks his own afterlife in order to allow Jim to follow his own dreams.

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