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Huck Finn Racist?

Topics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Pages: 5 (1053 words) / Published: Feb 19th, 2013
Ashu 2 was merely part of the vernacular of Southern culture during the 1800's not a cacophonous wordand not strictly a racist term. It further illustrates that twain recognized the evils of racism.As shown in the drunken charter of pap. Huck Finn was abused by his father allthroughout his childhood. He lived in constant fear of his surroundings (occasionally even beingincarcerated in a shed for days) and didn't lead an exactly normal life. When he finally decides toget out of his predicament and stages his own death, he meets up with Jim on Jackson's island.When Huck first meets Jim on the Island he makes a monumental decision, not to turn Jim in.Two opposing forces, the force of society and the force of his personal conscience confront him.He is forced to decide whether turning Jim in is the right thing to do. The law tells him that hemust betray his friend, but his conscience tells him to question this law. He chooses, as he doesmany other times in the book, to continue helping Jim to obtain his freedom despite the fact thatit seems immoral to him. Many times, throughout the novel, Huck comes very close torationalizing Jim's slavery. However, he is never able to see a reason why this man, who has become one of his only friends, should be a slave. Through this internal struggle, Twainexpresses his opinions of the absurdity of slavery and the importance of following one's personalconscience before the laws of society. By the end of the novel, Huck and the reader have come tounderstand that Jim is not someone's property and an inferior man, but an equal. Which is ironic because in the beginning of the book Huck thought blacks were almost stupid-like “(p. 6) Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark…Jim was ruined” But, in the end Huck realizes he could never betray his friend, Jim, who has risked his life for Huck and who has become the closest friend Huck ever had and will ever have.Another time Twain demonstrates the immorality of slavery is during Huck’smoral crisis after Jim is recaptured. The friendship between the two proves to be more importantto Huck than his moral system. “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” (207) Huck decides that he would

Ashu 3 defy his religion (which was a pretty serious thing back then) and prefer to suffer severeconsequences rather than desert his friend. The idea is very clear that, although Huck has no problem with slavery, he considers Jim his equal and a friend. Twain is trying to convey thoseideas of equality trough Huck’s actions and thoughts. Huck converses with Jim as if Jim was a parental figure. Jim proves himself to be Huck’s caretaker when he refuses to let Huck see thedead body in the river in order to protect Huck at a time when he was most vulnerable just beinga child. Huck even shows friendship towards Jim as well. The novel shows that Huck hasfeelings for Jim when Huck says, "It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to goand tumble myself to a nigger-but I done it and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. Ididn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd'a' knowed it would makehim feel that way." (p. 89) These actions demonstrate that Huck and Jim’s relationship is on ahuman to human basis with no bias related to Jim’s status as a slave.Most see only human nature between most fraudulent charters in Huck fin, but there is aconnection between the corrupt and criminal society that Huck experiences and the acceptance of slavery. The same people who condone slavery are murderous, stealing, criminal pariahs (Unit13). For example, the Duke and the King, the deceiving criminals Huck and Jim meet on theriver, try to trick Huck and turn Jim in simply to collect reward money. This demonstratesTwain’s opinion that slavery existed in this society because of greed and corruption. In another example, Twain uses satire to demonstrate that slavery was kept in practice by corrupt people.Miss Watson is an educated and self-proclaimed religious person, but also a slave owner. Heshows how hypocritical people can be as espoused to their religious beliefs that condemn their own actions! In this case, Miss Watson felt that slavery was an acceptable practice despite her religious background, because slaves were not considered eligible to have the same rights and privileges that religion allowed others to enjoy. The way Huck’s father, Pap, is even portrayed in

Ashu 4 this book makes a connection between poor moral character, racism, and the acceptance of slavery. Pap is portrayed as, not only a racist, but also, a rude, egocentric drunk and child abuser.“It was ‘lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn’t too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this Country where they’d let a nigger vote, I drawedout.” (35) This quote shows there is a connection between Pap’s crude behavior and his racist beliefs. Twain uses this strong example to demonstrate that there were many such people in thesociety that were of similar character and held racist opinions, that pap was so drunk andill-“spoken” he didn’t want to go vote and cast his civil liberties, because a “nigger” could also.With a spot on the banned book list, mark twain’s innocent tale the adventures of huckleberry fin is anything but. Since slavery acts as a major driving force in the plot,controversy and charges of racism inevitably arose from all peoples. The novel confronts adelicate issue, and in communicating the story, twain does present racist charters and situations, but he does not write a racist novel! Just as the Mississippi river steers Huck and Jim towardmany great adventures and freedom, Twains steers his novel with a clear anti racist sentiment.Work citedClemens, Samuel. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn An Authoritative Text Contexts and SourcesCriticism (Norton Critical Edition). New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.Graff, Gerald, and James Phelan. "Confronting "Huck Finn" Let teens explore issues Twainraises." English Universty of Chicago (2004): 1-1.

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Schuster, Bob. "Challenges to "Huck Finn" This isn't racism." Tempe Tribune [Tempe] 29 Apr.1996: 1-1

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