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Choose Comfort or Stand Up

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Joel Rogers, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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As a collegiate rower, I had the privilege of rowing in the Mississippi River. The roar and movement of the water truly deserves the namesake “Mighty.”

Thank you for joining us on the High Plains Public Radio Station. My name is Jessica Sadler and I am a Science Teacher and STEAM facilitator in Olathe, Kansas. I am here with the other book leaders to discuss Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This piece of classic literature explores the entrapments and desires for freedom that many people still experience today in various ways.

Thank you for joining us on the High Plains Public Radio Station. My name is Jessica Sadler and I am a Science Teacher and STEAM facilitator in Olathe, Kansas. I am here with the other book leaders to discuss Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. This piece of classic literature explores the entrapments and desires for freedom that many people still experience today in various ways.

Their journey takes place by traveling the mighty Mississippi River.

Twain’s piece, Huck Finn, really begins by telling the story of a young man waiting to emancipate himself from societal constraints both physically and mentally. He is tired of the ideals being “civilized” pressed upon him by the Widow Douglas. Huck fakes his own death to escape an abusive father and soon meets Jim, a runaway slave.

Morality and the construct of being civilized heavily govern this novel. Huck is originally only concerned with his societal entrapments and doesn’t see any inherent evil/issue with slavery itself. As the two characters, Jim and Huck, begin to set their plan of escape into motion down the Mississippi River. Huck comes to understand the goodness of his travel companion. In fact, Twain portrays Jim in a way that has much more civility than Huck himself.

During the time when Huck feels “washed clean of sin” he is considering turning over the man who has shown him nothing but kindness. As a collegiate rower, I had

the privilege of rowing in the Mississippi River. The roar and movement of the water is truly deserving of the namesake, “Mighty”. With travel to be had and time to think, I believe this elemental force of nature probed Huck to realize the subconscious sins he would be committing by letting Jim suffer jail and enslavement yet again.

For all his boyish qualities, Tom Sawyer sums up Huck’s actions while trying to

break Jim out of jail, “Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” (Chapter 36).

There are many people today who believe themselves to be with minimal sin in this world. I tend to find they are the ones who see themselves as civilized and successful. Many of these individuals are ignorant to the issues many people face. I think this is because they associate with a particular clientele and do not see the need to “slum it” outside of the groups and thinking they are comfortable in. This mentality can lead to people knowing better but not choosing the higher road because they personally will benefit instead of what is right for the majority.

“What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”.

Perhaps this chosen ignorance is summed up in even simpler words by Twain in chapter 22. As Colonel Sherburn appears to open fire amongst the townspeople, they scatter to save themselves and are no longer concerned with bringing the Colonel to justice for his wrong doings, “The average man don’t like trouble and danger.”

I think it is in these right simple words Twain delivers some of his harshest judgments against humanity. Most humans will choose to not do what is right in the face of danger. They would rather flock back into the safety of a group than stand up and challenge the obstinance.

This is Jessica Sadler, and you are listening to the High Plains Public Radio Reader’s Book Club.

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