The Moral Education of Huckleberry Finn
Over the course of the novel Huck’s moral values are altered; the change is shown in the way Huck begins to respect Jim’s humanity. In the beginning of their voyage, Huck feels he shouldn’t be helping Jim to freedom and almost turns him in to slave catchers: “I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this it seemed to take the tuck all out of me”(87). When Huck and Jim are forced to leave Jackson’s Island in chapter XI, Huck tells Jim, “They’re after us”(122). The people are really only after Jim, but Huck has already identified with Jim. Huck begins to enjoy having Jim’s company, and when Jim is sold by the Duke and the King, Huck breaks down and cries while asking the Duke where Jim is: “‘sold him’ I says, and begun to cry; ‘why he was my nigger, and that was my money. Where is he?– I want my nigger.”(208). Huck Finn changes through the story from embracing the morals of the Southern society to understanding the value of every human life, even that of a black man. The people Huck encounters on the river bank change his social conscience.