Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a perfect example of how one’s heart and morals can change in difficult situations. Huck’s journey down the Mississippi River tested him to his limits of being able to handle situations in the way which he had been raised. Huck shows that how one is raised is something that will impact them tremendously in the rest of their life and that it is hard to change from what you’ve been molded into.
Early in the novel Huck shows how much of a rebellious and joking boy he truly is. I put out the light and I scrambled out of the window…,(pg. 17) says Huck. Huck, at a young age, began getting himself into many difficult situations, such as escaping from the cave in Tom Sawyer. Huck often has a hard time abiding by rules, keeping himself out of trouble, and comprehending the things he has been taught. However, he does learn one thing, that he is better than the Negroes. So, as young boys, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer spend a good bit of their time playing tricks on Ms. Watson’s slave, Jim. He slipped Jim’s hat off his head and hung it on a limb right over him…,(pg. 19) tricks like these which Huck is never punished for are part of what confirm the teaching that he is in fact better than blacks. This conditioning as a young child is what makes it difficult for him to deal with Jim as an equal later in life.
Once on the river Huck has a much more difficult time as he not only has to deal with Jim but also the King and Duke who join them on their journey. The King and Duke’s actions around Huck make him realize that he needs to change his morals. When Huck realizes that the King and Duke are impostors his learning experience begins. It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. This statement shows that Huck has feelings about the King and Duke that show that his morals are of the kind which will not selfishly go against other’s trust. Once the King and Duke decide on cheating the Wilks family, Huck says, It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.(pg. 225) When he says this it shows that he is definitely changing for the better. Until the trip down the river Huck’s life was something that he never took very seriously. He would play jokes on innocent people just to see what would happen, such as when he and Tom hung Jim’s hat on the tree branch. As the river brings Huck and Jim together in a strong friendship, Huck sees that Jim is actually an equal who has feelings. So when it comes time for Huck to go against everything he has ever been taught, he does it, just to save Jim. All right, then, I’ll go to hell,(pg. 297), says Huck just as he decides that he’ll go ahead and do all he can to get Jim out of his life as a slave once and for all. This action shows that his sound heart took precedence over everything that his mentors placed in his mind. This turn around shows that Huck is a very civilized human being with a conscience that changes from what he was taught to what he truly believes in. Huck breaks free of his mold and becomes his own person.
As soon as Huck realizes that his morals are incorrect he immediately begins changing them. His change from a person who plays jokes on Negroes for the fun of it to a person who steals them from slavery is a transition for the better. Huck Finn most definitely demonstrates the victory of a sound heart over a deformed conscience.