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Alcohol and Sobriety in Huck Finn
Transcript of Alcohol and Sobriety in Huck Finn
"You are torn between two moral obligations; one that is personal, namely to your partner's mother; and another to society. Which takes precedence? Personal sympathies may colour moral actions: for instance, Huckleberry Finn wrestles with his conscience before deciding to help his slave friend Jim to escape from his legal owner, Miss Watson, even though Huck knows that by doing so he is going against the law."
Torn Between the Family and Society
Alcohol and Child Abuse
“He used to always whale me when he was sober and could get his hands on me…” Ch. 3, pg. 9
Alcohol and Crime
"Every time he got money he got drunk; and every time he got drunk he raised Cain around town; and every time he raised Cain he got jailed.” Ch. 6, pg. 17
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
"Historically, alcohol and drug education efforts have been directed at the individual student. However, individual students often make decisions concerning their alcohol and drug use within an environmental framework. It is the environmental pressure that leads students to make choices one way or the other about their use."
Alcoholism has been affecting the society as well as the person responsible, by having a negative effect that tempers with the way you interact with others. Mark Twain has used many examples in Huckleberry Finn to show what alcohol can do and how you are viewed by the society.
By: Diana Voropaeva
He compares his problem to Huckleberry Finn, and his conscience in deciding to help Jim escape from being a slave. There is also a description on how the writer does not like the drinking situation and sees it as not beneficial to the society. Huck was the same with his own father, he seemed to take caution when he arrived and gave his money away to the judge. As well as Huck the society does not appreciate the people who abuse alcohol as well as the others. Mark Twain wanted to show how a specific character feels towards alcoholism at that time, especially a main character that is at a young age. This was important because readers can understand why Huck is viewing alcoholism as a bad thing. He sees the effects that took place and mostly all the characters actions were revolved after the abuse of drinking.
Like in the story of Huck Finn, people are facing problems with alcohol in their community. Not many see drinking as a popular or beneficial activity and communities begin to act by creating amusements for the teens to spend their time at instead of drinking. Huck sees people who live a normal life drink excessively and many times this is laughed upon by the people and looked down on. Even though it is known that drinking excessively is bad mannered many still attempt to do so. Huck does not like the way some of the people act through the book such as the King or the Duke, they both drank throughout the story and were nothing but liars and robberies. This did not do anything beneficial for the community nor themselves.
People are always trying to find a better way to improve their community, such as teaching our students the dysfunctional side of the human psyche and creating alcohol free environments to entertain as well as teach the teens a beneficial lesson. They are trying to provide a better environment in which the students can organize their own events against alcoholism and drugs. Many people are creating sponsored events and activities to get the teens interested.
In this passage, Twain associates the characteristics of an alcoholic as being abusive and damaging. Huck’s father is drunk almost every moment, and his tainted mind has promoted aggressiveness even while he is sober. This highlights the concept of child abuse as a result of substance abuse and alcoholism. His father’s entire persona is damaged by his consumption of alcohol.
This quote directly connects to the issue of child abuse as an effect of alcohol abuse in today's society. In the novel, Huck's father frequently whips him and abuses him because of his dependence on alcohol. Even when his father was sober, he would abuse Huck every time he was displeased with him. This shows the prolonging and damaging effect that alcohol has on relationships between parental units and their children. His father's alcoholic disease led him to be extremely violent and abusive towards Huck, and it could possibly lead to alcoholic abuse from Huck in the future. This connects to today's society because of the prevalent amount of child abuse that occurs today, and most of it is induced by alcohol-related activity. Many parents who have an abusive relationship with alcohol tend to be more aggressive, and their clouded judgement causes them to irrationally act out and emotionally, sexually, or physically abuse their child and leave a damaging impact on their developing mind.
In this passage, Twain makes an association between pap and Cain, who was the first human born and the first to commit murder by killing his brother. This suggests that pap’s drunken state results in him making irrational decisions that negatively affect others. It also shows how alcohol results in consequences like going to jail. This may suggest that those who have a dependence on alcohol are more likely to participate in negative activities and go to jail.
This quote is a reference to Huck's father and his drinking habits. Huck stated that every time his father got money he got drunk and then raised enough havoc to get placed in jail. This provides a direct connection to crime and today's society as it shows how his father's use of alcohol causes him to make illogical decisions that result in him making poor choices and getting put in jail. His direct consumption of alcohol leads him to commit some time of crime every time he receives money. This highlights the important relationship between crime and alcohol, both in the novel and the issue of alcohol-related crime in society today. Many people today who are charged with a crime or end up in jail have a strong relationship with alcohol. Alcohol clouds rational thoughts and promotes aggressiveness and violence, which is a causative factor of various assaults and abuse that is prevalent in today's society.
The depiction of alcohol as a negative contribution to society in Huck Finn accurately reflects its degrading impact on society today through its causation of crime, child abuse, and the lethal effect it has on the dynamics of parent and child relations.
Alcoholic Parents and Children
"It's just not talked about… The kids don't want to talk about it because they will feel guilty, the parents who are drinking [feel they] have something to hide, and society doesn't really want to come out against alcohol."
This article focuses on the destructive effects of parents who suffer from alcoholism on children. A study was found that shows that children who grow up with alcoholic parents have emotional, behavioral, and mental scars and their early lives were characterized by chaos and abuse. Children either become withdrawn, go into denial, or use the experience to become stronger as a person. The article also discussed that there is a misconception that addiction only affects the addict, when in reality, it affects the entire family involved. A woman named Mary Smith even said she was relieved when she found out that her father died simply because she wouldn't have to worry about the disease affecting him or anyone else anymore.
In the novel, Huck states that he would rather be bit by a snake than follow the same road as his father. This suggests that Huck has resentment for his father and the choices his father has made. His relationship with his father has been severely damaged as a result of alcohol because of the abuse he has suffered his entire life. He even resulted in running away so he wouldn't have to consume the effects of his father's disease. This connects directly to society since the article discussed how children often feel resentment and harbor pain and anger toward the parents who destroyed their promising childhood. Huck's visualization of his father's pathway in life has made him realize what alcohol can do to someone, and he uses this to make a vow to himself to not follow that path and to use his experience to make him a stronger person, as the article stated that some children end up doing in society today. Many children hold a detached relationship with their alcoholic parents that parallels Huck's relationship with his father in the novel.
Joseph, J. (2006, April 5). Banned from driving. Retrieved from EBSCO HOST
McVeigh, T. (2010, February 13). Pain and anger are the hidden burden for
children with an alcoholic parent. The Guardian, Society. Retrieved from
Ohle, J. R. (2013, April 26). A community based approach to alcohol and drug
education. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from Inside Higher Ed website:
Research Example 1 & 2: Diana
Research Example 3: Tia
Text Example 1 & 2: Tia
Presentation: Diana & Tia