I am creating a list of all the social situations in the novel that show that civilization corrupts people. Am I missing any? 1) Widow Douglas tries to force Huck to wear new clothes, give up smoking, and to learn the Bible 2) Grangerford/Sheperdson feud 3) actions of King and Duke 4) townspeople calling for a lynching

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think I agree with all of these, with the possible exception of the first one.  I know Huck would think that this is corruption, but I'm not sure I do.  The Widow is a pretty good person too.

The one thing I can think of right off that I would mention is the way that the Phelpses behave towards Jim.  They are very pious Christians, very civilized.  And yet they really just see Jim as this piece of property.  I think Twain is trying to show how twisted that value system was by having them be like that.

I suppose you might also consider whether Tom has been corrupted by civilization.  You could say that is why he never told that Jim was actually free and instead subjected Jim to his silly stuff that was supposedly helping Jim escape.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial