In Julius Lester's "Morality and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" he argues that Twain portrayed African Americans in a mean and racist way, and believe that the book should be taken off school reading requirements. An example of this is the way that Twain made Jim talk, in an uneducated and very weak way, "Huck; you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de only fren' old Jim's got now. -Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman dat ever up' his promise to ole Jim." (P87). This shows that Twain does show that Jim is not very smart and cannot speak English very well, but that does not show that Twain is racist. Another example is that Jim knew that once he past Illinois freedom was no where near, yet he kept going and did not stop, nor did Huck stop him. This is sort of played off as a mistake, but if looked upon in a different way shows a lack of knowledge and Jim is looked at as being lesser than Huck. Lester believe that "Twain did not take slavery, and therefore black people, seriously." (P365). Lester is very against the way that Twain portrayed black people, as ignorant and lesser than the whites. Lester being African America takes offense to the book along with many others and agrees to ban it from schools.
I must disagree with Lester's opinion. Although this book was written in 1885 when slavery was legally over in 1884 it does not take away from what has happened. Twain had every right to write the n word in the text, and every right to show Jim as being less than a white man because that is how it was, even though slavery was over. Although many take offense to this book and are now pointing fingers at Twain for being racist it is all reality, and Twain took the risk of bringing attention to it which is why there is so much controversy. "But I cannot separate literature, no matter how well written, from morality." (P354.) This is what Lester said about the book, which he has every right to say. Everyone has different morals, therefore...
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