I’ll Go To Hell

July 6, 2010

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) is considered one of America’s greatest writers. He had a brilliant mind and an unprecedented ability to express himself through words that still resonate today. In his book, Huckleberry Finn, young Huck (the narrator) recounts his adventures on the Mississippi River in the company of Jim—a slave who’s seeking freedom so he can work and buy his family’s freedom.

During the journey, Huck is bothered by the fact he’s helping Jim escape. He realizes by doing so he’s actually “stealing” someone’s property. At one point, his conscience gets the best of him and here’s what follows:

So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn’t know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I’ll go and write the letter – and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:

Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. Huck Finn.

I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking – thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. Read more