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Word Count: 1,057
Several decades ago Lawrence Kohlberg proposed that people progressed in their moral reasoning through a series of stages These six steps brought a person from an egocentric mentality to one that is concerned with the well being of others He further divided the six stages into three levels premoral conventional and principled morality Kohlberg believed that the stages were sequential or one couldnt advance from stage 1 to 3 without first experiencing stage 2 He also believed that social interaction promoted the individuals moral growth The theme of moral growth plays a prominent role in Mark Twains Huckleberry Finn Kohlbergs Theory helps the reader understand the complexity of Hucks character The novel chronicles Hucks dramatic moral experiences and changes throughout the novel as his conscience matures However Huck doesnt always progress in Kohlbergs prescribed order Hucks moral development is erratic he jumps from one stage to another and back again Perhaps this is because he is only child and his conscience still has a lot of development ahead As a youth Huck is easily influenced by society Therefore he is subjected to frequently shifting opinions of moral stance Also Huck Finns morality evolves as he interacts with different people along his journey For example he is touched by the kindness shown to him by the Grangerfords and Aunt Sally This will eventually affect his relationship with Jim and Hucks decision of whether or not to free Jim The first level of Kohlbergs theory consists of the premoral stages The individual is self-centered and just looking out for that ones own good In Stage One heshe focuses on avoiding punishment by doing what theyre told by an authority figure At the beginning of the novel Widow Douglas tries to sivilize Huck or conform him to societys standards Stage Two deals with unquestioning obedience Huck is fulfilling duties or performing an action only for something in return Whats in it for him Huck tries
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