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Tabula Rasa and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

            John Locke's book, "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding," presents the concept of Tabula Rasa or blank slate, which states that the human mind receives knowledge through the experience without any pre-existing innate ideas when they were born. In Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the notion of Tabula Rasa can be seen through Huck's character. Huck shows that his experiences have guided him through the evilness of society. For each "adventure" he went on, he can recognize what is immoral and corrupt in society from the previous experiences he had. Huck's independence makes him a good person in an evil society.
             Twain uses Tom Sawyer's childish ideas to show how it affects Huck's morals. Tom is a middle-class boy who received religious teaching and was indoctrinated with social values. He is also Huck's friend, who has an assertive nature and acts as a leader to his friends. As Tom tries to adapt his life and others to the books he has read, Tom had led his friends (Tom Sawyer's Gang) towards immoral activities such as piracy and murder. When Huck left his community, his morals changed when he does not think about Tom's beliefs. When Huck and Jim come upon a wrecked steamboat, Huck decided to go towards the steamboat and have an adventure the way Tom would. Huck almost endangered himself and Jim with the robbers. He said to Jim, "I can't rest, Jim, till we give her a rummaging. Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing?. I wish Tom Sawyer was here" (79). This event shows the repercussions of Huck's decisions when he thinks and acts like Tom. Ever since Huck left, he is gradually changing towards maturity by evaluating and interpreting the situations in a sensible manner, but when his decisions are clouded by Tom's influence, he resorts back to his immature and childish self. Thus, this shows Huck is a good person when he is independent of his friends.

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