Continuing huck
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Continuing Huck. Cognitive Dissonance, Morality, and Huck’s Decision. Cognitive Dissonance. Twain uses Huck as a master satiric voice; but he also uses the idea of cognitive dissonance Definition: The feeling of discomfort accompanied by holding two contradictory ideas at once. Freewrite.

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Continuing Huck

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Continuing huck

Continuing Huck

Cognitive Dissonance, Morality, and Huck’s Decision


Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance

  • Twain uses Huck as a master satiric voice; but he also uses the idea of cognitive dissonance

  • Definition: The feeling of discomfort accompanied by holding two contradictory ideas at once


Freewrite

Freewrite

  • Nobody wants to be in an abusive relationship. But people continue to be in them. This is a form of cognitive dissonance. How do people deal with this?


Cd examples

CD Examples

  • Dieting

  • Relationships

    • Unemployed boyfriend

    • Unstable/abusive boyfriend

  • Office supplies from work

  • Premarital sex


Cognitive dissonance and racism

Cognitive Dissonance and Racism

  • If you accept that “other” people are human persons, then you’re essentially arguing for their equality

  • But this means you can’t treat them as less than human – but people did, and people do


Dealing with racist cognitive dissonance

Dealing with racist cognitive dissonance

  • How do people deal with this?

  • Option one: Convince yourself that your ideas and actions aren’t actually treating them as unequal

    • Segregation

  • Option two: Convince yourself, consciously or unconsciously, that you are indeed somehow better than people of a specific race

    • “They’re human too, but more prone to theft, etc.”


Huck s racism

Huck’s Racism?

  • What about Huck? Does he recognize Jim’s humanity?

    • Yes! (Read end of chapter 23)

  • Is Huck racist? Does he disagree with slavery?

    • Yes and no! (read the book)

  • So he is involved in cognitive dissonance:

    • On the one hand, he recognizes Jim’s humanity

    • But on the other hand, he is OK with slavery


Climax of cognitive dissonance in huck

Climax of Cognitive Dissonance in Huck

  • Psychologically speaking, you can’t be involved in cognitive dissonance for too long – you either “correct” the problem, or go crazy

  • Where do we see this cognitive dissonance (this feeling of discomfort) coming to a climax? (Hint: In some ways, it’s also the climax of the novel.)


Why the dissonance society

Why the Dissonance? Society

  • On the one hand, Huck has society’s morals, and everything they have taught him: slavery is OK; helping a slave is wrong; you go to hell for doing bad things

  • But on the other hand, we see that Huck, even if unconsciously, wants to help Jim because he is a person and friend


Huck s decision

Huck’s Decision

  • He resolves this by rejecting society’s morals: ripping up the letter, saying he’d go to hell, etc.


Twain s points

Twain’s Points

  • So what is Twain saying to his times?

  • You can’t recognize others’ humanity while involving yourself in racist practices

  • You can step outside of your society’s morality and recognize morals more important


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