In Mark Twain’s quote, “a book of mine where a sound heart and a deformed conscience come into collision and conscience suffers defeat” evidently has symbolism. The deformed conscience in this quote refers to southern society in Huckleberry Finn’s world, while the sound heart refers to individuality and Huck Finn being an individual. There are many influences that contributed to Huck Finn’s “deformed society”. Some are the southern society he grew up in, the fact that Jim is a slave, his heart and individuality, and the fact that he feels that Jim is a person and not a slave.
In Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Jim, a slave, take many adventures together. The problem is that the time period is pre-Civil War. Slavery is still huge in the South and blacks are looked down upon. This troubles Huck and often causes internal conflict. Southern society in this time period was difficult. Huck was often struggling with the fact that his society was telling him one thing, but he believed another. Society has a huge affect on Huckleberry’s feelings and actions and often cause conflict. This society has “deformed Huck’s conscience” because he doesn’t know what to believe or what is right.
Another thing that deformed his conscience was the fact that Huck thought of Jim like a person and a friend, and not a slave. This was a problem for a few reasons. First of all, tying back into southern society, Jim was a slave and he was looked down upon. No one would think of befriending a slave, let alone trying to help him escape. Huck, however, is trying to escape himself from his society and environment with his dad. In today’s world, the society still affects the way we respond and think. Like Huck, if our society tells us one thing that we don’t agree with, we have trouble.
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Most people would want to fit into their society and do what everyone else believes, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Today’s society runs in a way that influences everyone around us. There are many forces, however, that attempt to change the “deformed conscience”. These forces can be known as leaders in society. People from the president to world-wide leaders can help change this process and can change how society affects people in the community and their take on life and the society around them.
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