Huck Finn – Just as They Come

I’ve been reading Huck Finn for English 202, and it’s a wonderful story, at least until Tom Sawyer gets involved. He’s aggravating and really drug the thing on longer than necessary. But since I’ve been reading a story through Huck’s voice and thought processes, I notice that I seem to think to myself sometimes with words he would use. It was the same way after watching a lot of Better Call Saul, I found I thought in the voice and likeness of ole Jimmy. Perhaps a dangerous activity. Twain anyway is sheerly a genius. He makes conversations like:

“I sha’n’t ever forget you, and I’ll think of you a many and a many a time, and I’ll pray for you too!” – and she was gone.

Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she’d take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same – she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judas if she took the notion – there warn’t no backdown to her I judge. You may say what you want to, but in my opinion she has more sand in her than any girl I ever see; in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like flattery, but it ain’t no flattery. And when it comes to beauty – and goodness too – she lays over them all.

Anyway, the best scene in the whole book comes a little while later when Huck decides to do the “honorable thing” and write a letter back home to turn in his friend Jim, a runaway slave. He tries to pray away his guilt for harboring a slave.

Well, I tried the best I could to kinder soften it up somehow for myself, by saying I was brung up wicked, and so I warn’t so much to blame; but something inside of me kept saying, “There was Sunday school, you could a gone to it; and if you’d a done it they’d a learnt you that people that acts as I’d been acting about the nigger goes to everlasting fire.”

It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of boy I was, and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn’t come. Why wouldn’t they? It warn’t no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn’t come . . . It was because I was playing double. . . . I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger’s owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie – and He knowed it. You can’t pray a lie – I found that out.

So Huck writes the letter, and then his conscious is light as a feather. But then he gets to thinking about how Jim hasn’t ever done him any wrong, and how happy he’s always been for Huck’s help and company. So that it goes:

I happened to look around, and see that paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, a sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: “Alright then, I’ll go to hell” – and tore it up.

Socrates thought that justice was really worth something if the just man developed a reputation for injustice – and kept on being just. When he did right, was viewed as wicked, and did right anyway. But I reckon even Socrates didn’t think to make a man consider himself unjust and still choose the right thing out of the justice in him. He’d of needed Huckleberry Finn for that.

Published by javenbear

Javen Bear is 25 years old and lives with his beautiful wife Aleisha in Phoenix, Arizona. He's a graduate student in a mental health counseling program at Grand Canyon University where he also works as an admissions representative. Javen’s super-power, if he had one, would be the ability to press pause on the world and catch up on reading. He enjoys talking walks with his wife, playing guitar, and always uses Oxford commas.

One thought on “Huck Finn – Just as They Come

  1. Howdy! Just checking your blog again after a long break. I should read Huckleberry Finn again. And yes, Clemens (Twain) was a great writer. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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