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Huckleberry Finn Case

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What can be wrong, can sometimes be right

A young boy with multiple dilemmas has his life hanging by a thread and it's all up to him to figure out how to escape this huge mess. This is very much the case of Huckleberry Finn- a runaway outcast trying to escape this terrible life of his. Huck has been through a lot his whole life. His mother died when he was young, and he was left to the care of his drunk father who constantly abused him both verbally and physically. With a father like that, Huck practically cared for and raised himself. However, how does an uncivilized boy like him determine what's right and what's wrong? Morally, he simply does what's good for him and in some cases, what makes him feel good about himself. Huck has a unique moral system of what he believes is right and wrong, and he figures this out by finding the middle way, when it's ok to lie and foremost, using the golden rule.

The middle way is the concept of being in between doing both good and bad and also deciding what's good and what's bad. Throughout Huck's journey, he uses the middle way multiple times with runaway slave, Jim. "Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; spose you'd a done right and give Jim up, would you feel better than what you do now? No I says, I'd feel bad- I'd feel just the same way I do now. Well then, I says, what's the use you learning to do right when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages just the same? I was stuck. I couldn't answer that. So I reckoned I would bother no more about it and do whichever comes handiest at the time"(p.97). Huck can't decide what the right thing to do is. He knows that the right thing to do is to turn Jim in but he also remembers he must keep his promise he made with Jim to help him escape. However, if he chooses any of the two, the consequences would be the same. He'd feel just as bad turning Jim in or helping him escape. And to him, saving Jim and keeping his word was more important and ideal at the time. He'd rather help his friend who he's grown so attached to than to turn him in and break his heart. Another way that Huck determines the middle way is by only taking what he needs. "Pap always said it warn't no harm to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some time; but the widow said it warn't anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it. Jim said he reckoned the Widow was partly right and Pap was partly right; so the best way would be for us to pick out two or three things from the list and say we wouldn't borrow them anymore- then he reckoned it wouldn't be no harm to borrow the others"(p.73). Jim is teaching Huck that you shouldn't take more than you need. Only take what you need. If you take more than you need, it's just as bad as stealing, but if you only take what you need, it's not as bad as stealing. They're stealing but with good intentions. Same with Huck lying- he only does it for a good purpose.

Huck finds it ok to lie sometimes, but only when he has to. Sometimes he isn't really given much of a choice. It's either life or death. "I took the ax and smashed it in the door. I bet and hacked it considerable a-doing it. I fetched the pig in, and took him back nearly to the table and hacked into his throat with the axe, and laid him down on the ground to bleed"(p.43). Here, Huck has just faked his death by killing a pig and using it's blood as fake evidence of his death. Huck feels that it's necessary he runs away from his father. His father was just about ready



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