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    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: You Can’t Pray a Lie

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    You Cant Pray A Lie is a pivotal excerpt taken from Mark Twains classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Like Twains other works, this example of moral truth and consequence undermines the basic sense of human values. Set in the 1880s on a raft upon the Mississippi River, Huck is caught in a battle of personal conflicting views. It is through his interactions with Jim, a runaway black slave, that he faces the realization that being ultimately true to himself means that he cannot pray a lie. Jim had run away from his abusive father and enabling small town to find himself traveling down the Mississippi on a raft.

    His traveling partner was a black slave, Jim. Wondering why Jim was there, Huck discovers that Jim had run away from his slave owner, Ms. Watson. Jim had spoken about his harsh life as a slave, and resented talk of being sold down to Orleans for a big stack o money. Huck felt that Jims escape was wrong, but kept his promise of secrecy, like any good friend would.

    In lieu of his escape, Jim emphasized his feelings of becoming a free man. Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom (p. 238). Huck came to the realization that Jim was escaping for a far different reason than he, and began to see this niggers freedom as his own fault; he was an accomplice. Hucks conscience became plagued by the fact that Jim was escaping the custody of his rightful owner, and he was doing nothing to stop this. In Hucks eyes, Jim was essentially the property of poor old Ms.

    Watson, who didnt do anything less than teach Jim his manners and his books. Altogether, Huck felt that he was doing wrong by concealing this, and felt miserable to say the least. Jims anticipation for freedom grew higher as he expressed his future dreams and aspirations. Jim began saying things that niggers wouldnt normally dare say. Jim was speaking like a white man, not like someones property, a slave.

    This attitude began to lower Hucks vision of Jim, and his conscience grew even hotter. Huck had never been exposed to a slave who spoke this way. It was his inadequate education that told him this was wrong. Jim stopped the raft with intentions of surrendering Jim. At this point he heard Jim yell: Pooty soon Ill be a-shoutn for joy, en Ill say, its on accounts oHuck; Is a free man, en I couldnt ever ben free ef it hadn been for Huck; Huck done it.

    Jim wont ever forgit you, Huck; yous de bes fren Jims ever had; en yous de only fren ole Jims got now (p. 239). This was a turning point for Hucks emotions. The line between what was expected of him and what his emotions felt began to clash. Hearing Jim say this hit Huck right in the heart, and he began to view Jim not as a slave, but as a person, a friend.

    The race card was slowly loosing its importance to Huck. However, he had been conditioned to believe that the right thing to do was to turn Jim in. When it came time to confess though, Huck lied to spare Jims life. His emotions had over powered his duty to public policy. This shows signs of Hucks ability to think for himself, rather than being that of a follower.

    Nonetheless, Jim is later captured leaving Huck with the decision of what must be done. Huck felt that writing a letter to Ms. Watson would be the proper path to take. He overturns this notion however on account of how Ms.

    Watson would view Jim, and how the others would think Huck was a nigger helper. Thus, it would be equally shameful for both of them. By not doing so, he was ultimately protecting both of them. He thinks as long as he can hide it, it aint no disgrace (p. 242).

    Hucks conscience again is manipulated by what is seen to be right in the public eye. He knew that telling the truth would make him a good boy. Huck did have intentions of doing what was right in life, but knew in his own head that this wasnt necessarily the right moral answer. Indeed he could hide this information from the slave owners, but he couldnt hide it from God.

    People may be gullible, but God can see beyond petty lies and wrongdoings. Therefore, praying would not help to cure this situation because you simply cannot hide it: You cannot pray a lie! This understanding was probably the most important spiritual notion that Huck could have discovered. In theory, it set him free. Huck did eventually write a letter to Ms. Watson telling the whereabouts of Jim.

    This action made him feel that he was doing the right thing. However, he began to think about the experiences in which he shared with Jim. He remembered how grateful Jim was to him, and how Jim thought of him as his only friend in the world. They had watched out for one another during their escape journey, and had found companionship within. The fact that they were of different colors was not important.

    Rather, a sense of humanity was present between the two. With this, Huck ripped up the letter and had no thoughts of reforming. All right then, Ill go to hell-and tore it up (P. 243). He decided he would even go as far as to steal Jim out of slavery, because he felt that it was his moral obligation, his duty.

    The outcome symbolizes a deep sense of decision and morality as decided by Huck, a free man. Even though he may have thought it was wrong of him, he did it anyway. His moral conscience guided him to do what he believed was right. In reality, Huck made a wise decision that went against the aristocratic customs of his time. He saw beyond the foundation of slavery. He saw wonderful qualities in Jim that he may have never seen in any white man before.

    Most of all, he found love, friendship, and emotion. Hucks decision ultimately enlightened him and brought happiness to him, even though he had to run away for what he believed. This was something that he could pray upon, because it was his own found truths that he fulfilled through his mission. Twains narrative is a prime example of nineteenth century abolition in slavery. Hucks path is an example of the road that many took to bring African Americans out of slavery as well.

    This is a revolution that has progressed extensively since Twains time, but continues to be a problem in most all societies today. What is important is for people to take a deep look at interactions with others and what we can do to make our world a better place. It all begins with our sense of personal rights and wrongs. For somebody to say that it is impossible for everybody to come together and love each other is a blatant lie. Seen as though you cant pray a lie, you obviously cant pray upon this.

    Therefore, we must be able to love one another! Words/ Pages : 1,276 / 24

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    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: You Can’t Pray a Lie. (2019, Jan 25). Retrieved from

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