Novels that Changed America: Huck Finn

Mark Twain’s masterpiece has always been misunderstood. When it was released in the late 1900s people confused it with a children’s book. Today some people are offended by language it contains that was common at the time.

What it is about is the transcendent souls of two friends, how their understanding of good and evil is from their hearts and not the laws and mores of the times. In one great scene Huck is tempted to betray runaway slave, Jim. He fights internally between what he has been taught, don’t lie or you will go to hell, and his loyalty to his friend. He instinctively knows the right answer and protects his friend and accepts hell as the consequence.

I read this book when I was teen and again decades later. It moved me deeply both times. Honor and courage are not limited to soldiers and knights. Sometimes fugitives and ten year old boys possess an abundance. And their example is a lesson to us all.

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