Inner Conflicts in Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Essay

August 29, 2022 by Essay Writer

Updated: Dec 30th, 2020


In his book “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Mark Twain portrays the way society instills morals to its people in a satirical manner. These morals are indented and therefore the author uses the book to highlight the evils that are in the society. Huck, the key character in the book, brings the collision of a sound heart and a deformed conscience, a conflict well illustrated through the theme of racism, civilized society, and slavery among others.

The conflict between character and conscience

A character-conscience conflict stands out well in Twain’s masterwork. Huck rejects the morals of society because he does not understand why society cannot come to his rescue by protecting him from his cruel father who is good for nothing drunkard. The circumstances that bewilder Huck force him to stay with a widow, a thing that he does not like, though he stays there anyway. He is in continuous conflict with himself.

Furthermore, the author illustrates Huck’s beliefs towards religion and Christianity in a satirical way. In a conversation, he responds by saying that he would like to be in hell to have a change (Twain 27). He, therefore, misunderstands the concepts of religions although his motives are not bad. He follows his ways as opposed to those of the society, indicating the level of his character-conscience conflict.

The author also presents Huck as a clever and a person who does not like harming or offending his colleagues. He never associates with liars and fraud people and therefore avoids them to have his peace (Twain 32). However, on realizing the risk that Jim is in, he makes up his decision and allows him in, to ensure that nothing bad happens to him. Tom Sawyer serves as the epitome of illustrating these conflicts.

The idea of sound heart-conscience conflicts stands out well, like Tom Sawyer, the most notable character reveals. The student is involved in several issues, the first incidence being where he whitewashes the fence as a punishment from his mother. He intentionally tricks his colleagues to assist him in the job. He knows the trick whereas the colleagues think that they are doing the job for fun. The boys do the job with a kind heart arousing Sawyer’s conflicts with himself for hiding the truth from his colleagues. Furthermore, the turn of events in Sawyer’s love with Becky illustrates a character-conscience conflict.

The two parties fall in love entering into courtship, a relationship that breaks as soon as Sawyer abuses his lover (Twain 45). Despite the break, Sawyer fights with his conscience, as he knows well that he ought to marry, a case that forces him to reconcile with Becky thereby continuing with their love affairs. Also, instances of conflicts stand out where Sawyer and Finn see bad Joe murder doctor Robinson while visiting the graveyard.

Upon the discovery of the murder, Joe blames Muff for the killing, a scenario too heavy for Sawyer to bear. Following his piling inner fights, he and his friend Huck decide to escape becoming pirates. His mother’s conscience tells her that they are already dead and therefore prepares for their funeral.


However, Sawyer and his colleague show up, and following a serious character-conscience conflict on whether to reveal or conceal the murder, Sawyer gradually gains the courage to testify on the murder against Joe. Twain therefore successfully shows how a sound heart collides with a deformed conscience, a situation that forces people like Sawyer to speak their minds thereby doing as per their hearts’ demand.

Works cited

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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