Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Theme of Religion
With stories about babies found in bulrushes and kings who propose cutting infants in half, you can see why Huck is a little skeptical of religion. And it seems like Twain might be a little skeptical, too: Huck basically has to renounce his religion to decide that it's okay to help Jim escape to freedom. So, we know that religion isn't all good. The question remains: in Huckleberry Finn, is religion good for anything?
Questions About Religion
- Huck pretty much rejects Miss Watson's religion, right? So, what does he put in its place? A different set of beliefs? Or an ethical system that doesn't rely on religion at all?
- We said Huck renounces his religion… but maybe we're wrong. After all, he still talks about going to hell all the time and worries about saving his soul and praying. What is he rejecting, then, and what does he still cling to?
- Huck says, "You can't pray a lie" (31). What is he getting at there? What would it mean to "pray a lie"?
Chew on This
Religion gets in the way of Huck's developing friendship with Jim.
Twain presents religion as universally bad. Even the "good" religious characters, like Aunt Sally or the Widow Douglas, are small-minded slave-owners.