Critical Essay on Religion in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Huck cannot determine the importance and necessity of religion and wonders why people make a big deal about religion. On page 2, “After supper, she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushes, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him, but by and by she let it out that Moses has been dead a considerable long time. So then I didn’t care anymore about him because I don’t take any stock in dead people.” In this quote, Huck is wondering why the widow would bother to teach him about a dead man when he did not care about dead people. Moses being one of the most key people in religion is essential to anyone who wants to learn about religion. After all, religion is rooted in things that happened a long time ago. This means that the central people have been dead for a long time. Huck is concerned with the present and does not see how religion affects him if it is not happening in the present.

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What Does Huck Think About Religion - Specifically the Good Place, the Bad Place, and Prayer?

Huck finds the idea of heaven boring and mundane when the woman tells him about heaven, he silently finds the idea dull, on page 3 he says “Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all about a good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn’t think much of it, but I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that because I wanted him and me to be together.” This quote shows that Huck does not think heaven is appealing yet heaven is the most important part of religion. He finds religion unnecessary without fully realizing the seriousness that Miss Watson is trying to communicate. When he is told about hell (a bad place), he decides it is exciting and wishes he was there. “Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there.”

Huck believes that religion is not an experience, but rather something people do not get anything out of it. Huck notes that nothing comes out of prayer when he talks about Miss Watson praying with no visible results: “Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed but nothing came of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it wasn’t so. I tried it. Once I got a fish line, but no hooks. I tried for hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn’t make it work.” In this quote, Huck believes that religion is an experience that culminates in no results since prayer is not answered. He wonders if somebody can get anything they pray for — “Why can’t the widow get back her silver snuffbox that was stolen?” Huck ponders over religion and spiritual gifts as explained to him but sees only the benefit it accords other people and not him, he says, “I went out in the woods and turned it over in my mind for a long time, but I couldn’t see no advantage about it.” He sees no real experience in being concerned with other people as claimed by religion. There is no experience to be gained from it.


Huck believes that religion is not experienced in church but outside in nature. He explains the essence of nature on page 221, chapter 32. “When I got there, it was still and Sunday-like, there was the kind of faint droning of bugs and flies in the air that makes it seem so lonesome and like everybody’s dead and gone, and if a fans along and quivers the leaves it makes you mournful because you feel like its spirits whispering.” To Huck, nature is something he can comprehend better than religion as noted in this quote. He talks about it like a religious experience since according to him religion is in nature. On page 3, Huck experiences his version of religion in nature — “The stars were shining and leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful, and I heard an owl, away off who-whooing about somebody that was dead.” This shows that Huck believes in what nature implies to him.

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