Day 58 Huckleberry Finn, Jim and Civil Disobedience (by Mark Twain 1835- 1910) & Banned Books

Artists are leaders because they capture our imaginations. They change the direction our eyes go in the world, sometimes turning us inward, sometimes outward, sometimes both. Leadership in and through the arts is by its nature either transformative or conservative, teaching us to expand or helping us feel just fine about being ourselves, just as we are. This blogger, which Iʻve drawn from several times, articulateʻs Huckʻs rebellion against slave convention as civil disobedience, and reflects on the ways Twainʻs book has stirred up feelings and made us so uncomfortable that it has been banned long after its initial publication. Twain as leader; artist as leadership teacher. Itʻs an important thought, that in the quiet of our minds, we are led forward to better days in the real world by brilliant, provocative fiction.

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‘Huck’ Finn is a fictional character by Mark Twain. He appears in ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ and is about 12 to 14 years old in these stories, which are set in the 1840s.

There is a famous scene in which, after much agonizing, Huck decides not to obey the conventional morality of his culture—which would dictate that he report the location of Jim, the runaway slave, to Miss Watson, Jim’s owner—but instead decides to obey his own humane impulses. This is a prime example of Huck’s capacity for civil disobedience.

Jim proves his willingness to break the law, another act of civil disobedience, when he runs away after overhearing that Miss Watson may be intending to sell him.

Both the boy and the man, then, are already engaged in acts of civil disobedience, and Huck is already acting on behalf of another and at…

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One comment

  1. […] writers who were once considered controversial, but whose works are now known as classic (Thoreau, Samuel Clemens, George Orwell.) It’s not so much about the message (although obviously I choose artist […]

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