The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - A Racist Novel?
Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn depicts the story of a fourteen year old named Huckleberry Finn. Early in the novel, Huck is kidnapped by his own father; nevertheless, Huck escapes his father's wrath and goes on to lead a new life of mystery and adventure in the woods. In Huck's adventure, he overcomes unthinkable and bizarre obstacles, like falsifying his own death and encountering and surviving dangerous thieves on a steamship. Through the duration of his journey, he is accompanied by a runaway slave named Jim. The book, told from Huck's first person limited point of view, is a well-known masterpiece that illustrates many themes such as deceit, nature, and personal morals of the characters. However, it is argued if the work is a racist one. The author and humorist, Mark Twain, writes the novel in such a way that it is perceived to be racist through the eyes of his readers, even though it actually is not. Twain's writing styles do not suggest racism through his diction and syntax. Jim, the escaped slave, is undermined throughout the novel. Huck and Jim are perceived to be traveling partners, almost one in the same, since they are both on the run. There is no intention to purposely shadow Jim. He, being an African American slave during the time period in which the novel takes place, is an important character, in that he rebels to escape his slave life and acts as a foil pair with Huck, helping to develop Huck's character. Twain stylistically writes and gives Jim the dialogue any uneducated slave would have. The narration and dialogue of the other characters do not detect any of Twain's racial views. Twain writes in such a way that perfectly fits with the time period. Huck, who promises not to tell anyone of Jim's escape, explains his reasoning for keeping Jim's secret when he says, "people would call me a low-down abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum" (Twain 43)....
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