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The human mind and its complexity has bemused the scientific community. The desire to seek knowledge through experience still challenges the minds of many, however, Thomas C. Foster exemplifies this by labeling it as the “real reason for a quest.” As the understanding of the human mind expands, there becomes a clear distinction of the contributed factors that lead to decisions being made and the formation of moral stances based off of them. In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Huck Finn is a questor that transforms and changes his moral stances as the novel develops. Mark Twain conveys the emotional strain that is placed on Huck from the start of the novel. Being in a complex relationship with his abusive father, Huck decides he wants to escape and embark on a quest. In reality his journey signified something much more; its surface value met the criteria of Foster’s components for a quest. Achieving freedom from his abusive father, he found a place to go, a stated reason to go there, and faced trials and challenges along the way. On a psychological level, Huck’s trauma, from his abusive father, can be viewed through the mentality or lens of negative feedback mechanisms. A young child’s mental state can change from being brutally beaten, leading to severe altercations in decision making. These life altering events include moral decisions that are made by Huck as the novel unfolds. The struggle between pleasing society and valuing Jim’s friendship creates a divide between what is morally right to him and what society wants him to think is morally right. Huck’s decisions open his eyes to the normativity of racism in society. However, he decides to persevere these societal views by freeing Jim. Through saving Jim, he not only proves to society that they are blinded by racism, but rather that he has risen above the discrimination that was present. More importantly, this moral conflict creates a change in his development as a protagonist.
Huck’s moral development had an impact on his perception of the world and his moral growth as a character. His inner and outer factors played significant roles in creating the child that left his father to the man that stood up to society. Nature also played a role in influencing Huck’s decisions and moral stand points. The river introduced him to harmony, stability, and friendship creating the message of what Huck’s life was based off of. In addition, the contrast in society’s rhetoric created a division that helped shape Huck as a character. The overall reason for the quest shows Huck’s ability of getting away from conventions and prejudice without compromise, but rather developing his moral standpoint along on the way.
Mark Twain proves that in society, despite the natural assumptions that all is lost, there is a fragile young boy that will grow into a man that questions society as a whole. As humans continue to discover the intricacies of the human mind in its imperative, they come to a realization as a society that the decisions we make will define us as moral beings. Individuals make decisions that define who they are on a moral spectrum of conceptual thought. Huck represents this idea of stepping up to society, no matter what it is he deems morally right.
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