The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What does Miss Watson say about heaven in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,779 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Miss Watson is shocked when Huck says he wants to go to what she calls the "bad place," (she calls it that so as not to utter the word hell). She doesn't understand that he says this because he is so bored sitting inside with her that he would go anywhere to get away. She tells him about heaven, the "good place." There, she says, people have nothing to do but go around with a harp, singing all day. Huck is singularly unimpressed with this vision of heaven. He clings to his desire to go to the bad place, especially when he learns from Miss Watson that probably Tom Sawyer will end up there.

Christianity simply doesn't take for Huck. He can't see the value in it. Later that night, when he is alone in his room and accidentally flicks a spider into the candle flame so that it dies, he is filled with superstitious dread that this means bad luck. He carefully goes through several superstitious rituals to keep safe, but notably, never once thinks of praying or appealing to the Christian God. Christianity, as it has been presented to him, is a thing divorced from his real life and of no practical use.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Miss Watson calls Heaven the “good place” and she says that Huck will not go there if he continues to be bad.

Huck’s experiences with religion are generally not positive.  He considers praying useless because you can only ask for spiritual gifts.  He feels reading the Bible is a waste of time because the people are dead.  He does not understand Miss Watson’s point.

She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn't say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place. (Ch 1, p. 6)

Huck personally feels that it is better to go to Hell than Heaven, because if Miss Watson is in Heaven, it must be boring.  He figures Tom Sawyer will likely be in Hell anyway, so he’ll have company.

Twain bitterly and hilariously satirizes religion throughout the book.  His main problem is with hypocrisy.  He also does not approve of people who use religion as a crutch, like Miss Watson. She is rude to Huck, and makes no effort to understand him.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

writeit2 | Student

To Huck, Miss Watson holds out life in heaven as the ultimate goal any person could achieve. It is the "good place" where good people go when they die. There are angels and harps there, and life is happy all the time. Heaven is the opposite of the "bad place" where wicked people go after death. Miss Watson claims to be living her life in a manner which makes her worthy of life in heaven, and she sees Huck's posture, his manners and habits, as making him thoroughly unfit for that place. Thus, she constantly nags him about changing his ways,

From Miss Watson's description, Huck visualizes heaven as being dull and boring. He becomes further convinced that that is not for him, when Miss Watson informs him that his friend, Tom, is definitely headed for the "bad place". Huck would much rather be in hell with Tom, than in heaven with Miss Watson.