Realism in Huckleberry Finn

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The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain failed to accurately portray the slave experience because it misrepresents the attitude of slaves in daily life as shown in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, and over exaggerates the loyalty of slaves to their masters, as shown in Frederick Douglass’ narrative The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass..

Slaves of the 1800’s were seldom treated with respect or merely acknowledged, but according to Mark Twain they were often treated with kindness and generosity, and even the owners’ family respected their slaves. Throughout Huckleberry Finn, Jim views each situation with positivity and optimism, unlike that of a real-life slave. Jim was rarely subjected to harsh work by his owners, and easily escaped from his plantation in search of freedom in the north. Although the majority of slaves strived for similar independence, they had a much more difficult time escaping from their pitiless masters. When Harriet Jacobs’ brother, Benjamin, was imprisoned he was shackled to vermin-infested chains and choked down coarse food, even when he escaped he scarcely felt safe and did not have a friend to lean on. In contrast, Jim and Huck were never seen apart, and both were grateful for each others company on their arduous journey, “[Huck] was ever so glad to see Jim. [Huck] warn’t lonesome now… [Huck] talked along, but [Jim] only set there and looked at [Huck]; never said nothing” (Twain 49). By aiding each other on their voyage, Jim filled a void in Huck’s life by providing him with friendship and a sense of family. Compared to the slave narratives, Jim is treated more like a white man than a black slave. Harriet Jacobs was treated like an animal when she was in servitude, and felt less and less human each day. She was sexually abused by her master and verbally abused by her mistress. Her master was a spiteful monster, yet she was “…compelled to live under the same roof with him – where [she] saw a...
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