Huckleberry Finn - Racism Debate
There is a current debate that the description of Jim in the novel "Huckleberry Finn" is racist leading to some schools banning it from their libraries. Jim’s character is described as an uneducated and simple sounding; illiterate slave and some people have looked upon this characterization as racist.
Jim is depicted as a slave in the south during a period when slavery was common place and widely accepted as the way of life. Slaves of this time period were not provided any formal education; never allowed any independent thought and were constantly mistreated and abused. The author in my opinion is merely describing how a slave spoke in those days and was trying to give you the true feeling behind his thought, while writing this tale. Despite a few instances in which Jim’s description might be misconstrued as being racist, such as the use of the word "nigger", the reader should be able to understand that this is a fictional portrayal of two boys, one white and one black, during a time when slavery was common place.
There is an obvious contrast of the mind set depicted in Twain’s novel compared to then and now. The use of the word "nigger" is most certainly a very slanderous slang term that is not socially acceptable in present times. The dialect in which Jim is speaking indicates how Jim spoke do to his lack of
education and refinement that white people refused to provide to slaves. This provision was not permitted as white slave owners viewed blacks as property and as being unable to learn proper grammar and structure of the English language. Some historians have stated that this was also so because it allowed the white’s to maintain control over their slaves in order to "keep the upper hand", so to speak.
We as a modern society should maintain an open mind when dealing with literary works such as Huckleberry Finn and bare in mind that novels such as these are written during socially diverse and sometimes opposite...
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