Widow Douglas: Character - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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      The wife of the late justice of St. Petersburg, Widow Douglas is a pious and wealthy woman. She is the prime reformer and mother figure in the novel. She adopts Huck and tries to "sivilize" him. She tries to polish his crude ways and teach him the tenets of religion. She is a kind old lady and reasonably gentle with the mischievous Huck. Huck understands her good intentions behind her efforts with him. Nevertheless, he can't endure her lessons on grooming because they are contrary to the kind of life that he likes to live. Huck desires a carefree life with no restrictions, whereas the Widow imposes certain codes of refined social behavior that Huck can't relate to. Huck says,

"The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; so when I couldn't stand it no longer, I lit out".

      Due to the lady's gentle manners, Huck feels a lot of respect for her. He has a desire to please her. In the wrecked steamboat incident (chapter 13), when Huck has a sudden urge to rescue the robber on board Walter Scott, he decides to do so primarily owing to his urge to please the old lady.

      Widow Douglas is the epitome of civilization and represents everything that is orderly and according to decorum. One of her principal motives is to inculcate a sense of religion and Christianity in Huck. She teaches him about "Moses and Bulrushers" but Huck finds all her religious concepts illogical and contradictory.

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