Sunday, February 2, 2014

Space for free thinking

During class last week, one topic that became unavoidable was in regards to Huck’s morality.  No one was really able to come up with a definitive status of his moral compass.  My personal opinion on this dilemma goes back to the way that Mark Twain writes.  He sets up his narrative in a style that creates dialogue and action without much explanation to follow.  He drops his characters into a world that is in the midst of political and social upheaval.  In such a setting, it would be easy to think that Twain’s own biases and opinions would seep into the text.  However, he is able to somehow suppress his own voice, allowing Huck to chronicle moments in his life rather than extrapolating on them.

By leaving some questions unanswered, Twain makes room for his audience to fill in the gaps for themselves, in my opinion anyway.  He is not intruding on their beliefs, but setting up events to let the reader infer further for themselves.  This is where close-reading becomes vital to the process of getting through Huck Finn.  By reading in depth, the reader can take the time to make the connections for that Twain does not offer upfront.  Of course, this idea, that everyone’s opposing opinions can somehow be equally meaningful, may rub some people the wrong way.  But the point is that Twain has forged a space in the novel where people are able to think for themselves, having a chance to grow and develop in thought as the characters do the same.   

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