What does Mark Twain persuade his reader to think, feel, or do in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mark Twain persuades his readers to listen to their individual consciences and abide by their own moral codes instead of following a hypocritical society. He also encourages his audience to be tolerant of others and judge people based on their personality and merit, rather than their skin color or class. He portrays Southern society as being intolerant, hypocritical, and callous. Throughout the novel, townspeople act irrationally and are generally afraid to stand up for what is right. Huck Finn chooses to neglect society in favor of following his heart. He was raised to treat and view Jim as an inferior being, but after traveling down the Mississippi with him, Huck gains perspective and realizes Jim is a morally upright individual, not just a piece of property. Huck's conscience is his guide to living freely and acting independently. Twain also persuades his audience to challenge prejudice and unjust laws, particularly slavery and treating African Americans as inferior beings. Although Huck Finn commits a crime by helping a runaway slave, Huck does not turn Jim in because deep down he knows slavery is wrong. Twain believes we should all listen to our inner voices and do the right thing, even when it's unpopular or illegal.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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