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Race And Reading Frances Kayer Summary

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Race And Reading Frances Kayer Summary
Frances W. Kaye explains in his article, “Race and Reading: The Burden of Huckleberry Finn”, that racism is a lot more complex than most may think. Many people know what racism is, but only few understand the true nature behind its meaning. Kaye’s objective is to show readers the buried context of racism that oftentimes goes unnoticed. He shares his thoughts on how racism can be uncomfortable to only half of the people it comes across, the rest of whom fail to comprehend the outlying effects that result from the unfortunate practice. Kaye goes on to give examples of this occurrence by discussing the many instances of racial strife that took place before the civil war, and the negative outcomes that resulted from it. I believe that Kaye …show more content…
In a short conversation that takes place between Huck and Aunty Sally ("’It warn 't the grounding—that didn 't keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head.’ ‘Good gracious! anybody hurt?’ ‘No 'm. Killed a nigger.’ ‘Well, it 's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt’”) (Twain 247), we can see that the off-handed nature of the dialog further illustrates Kaye’s point that racism is often times multifaceted expression of someone’s ideas and beliefs. Twain provides a two-fold depiction of how deeply their prejudices run. First and most obviously, is the actual content of the conversation. Not only do they derogatorily refer to blacks as niggers without so much as a second thought, the pair also show relief that nobody was hurt, completely disregarding the fact that a black person had been killed. This is yet another depiction of the indifference society had toward the lives of the black race. Though a person lost their life, it wasn’t even considered as a loss; rather, it was viewed as good news that nobody more worthy perished in the explosion. The second, more subtle example of their complex biases is exposed in the flippant way the conversation takes place. Huck and Aunty Sally converse just as easily about this sensitive topic as they would about a fence being painted, for example. The only time real emotion is shown is when Aunty Sally worries that someone may have gotten hurt. Once she finds out that it was simply a black person who had been killed, the conversation resumes as if all is well. These two portrayals again show not only the mindset of society in that era, but also the layers and depth of these strong-held

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