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What is the nature and significance of religion in general in The Adventures of...

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user100400 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted September 11, 2013 at 5:22 AM via web

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What is the nature and significance of religion in general in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 11, 2013 at 5:35 AM (Answer #1)

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Throughout this hilarious book, Twain injects his own sacriligious attitude through viewing various aspects of religion through the eyes of Huck, who, in many ways, is an innocent. Note, for example, the attitude expressed in the following quote, when Miss Watson is trying to teach Huck about heaven and how he needs to be good if he wants to go there:

I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together. 

Huck of course doesn't understand the bigger religious questions, but his attitude indicates the way that what is important to him is being with friend rather than being in heaven. Again and again, Huck is used to poke gentle fun at religion, such as in the way he tries to pray for something he needs but doesn't get what he wants. In addition, the characters that are shown to be religious, are then shown to be hypocritical. Note, for example, Miss Watson, who tells Huck off for smoking whilst taking snuff herself. In the same way, when Huck is viewing the two feuding families at church together, the members of these two families bring their guns into the very church where they sit and listen to a sermon on brotherly love. Religion therefore is shown to be built around hypocrisy and rather illogical conclusions in this text. 

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