Does Huck Finn Represent Racism?
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Huckleberry Finn – Does His Character Represent Racism?
Racism means "the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and the belief of one specific race's superiority". This word plays a major role in history and in this novel. Many people and many facts lead you to believe Huckleberry Finn represents racism. I, on the other hand, believe Huckleberry Finn does not represent racism.
Throughout history critics have criticized Mark Twain about Huckleberry Finn being a racist novel and Twain himself being a racist. Mark Twain, through his writings in Huckleberry Finn make it clear he does not support racism in any way. For example, Mark Twain portrayed Pap Finn, a racist, as an uneducated, alcoholic that beats his kid. On the other hand, he portrays Jim, a slave, as a caring, loving father and a trustworthy companion to Huck.
" ... the reader is presented with a very caring and father-like Jim who
becomes very worried when he loses his best friend Huck in a deep fog.
Mark Twain is pointing out the connection which has been made between
Huck and Jim. A connection which does not exist between a man and his
The story takes place when black people were not considered equal to white people. Back then the word "nigger" referred to black people. Mark Twain did not write the word to degrade black people or to be racist, he wrote it to be historically accurate of the times. " To say that Twain is racist because of his desire for historical accuracy is absurd."
"...search through all of Twain's writings, not just the thirty-plus volumes of
novels, stories, essays, and letters, but also his private correspondence, his
posthumous autobiography and his intimate journals, and you'll be hard put
to find a derogatory remark about the black race, and this at a time when
crude racial stereotypes were the basic coin of popular fiction, stage
comedy, and popular songs." If Mark Twain wrote the "politically correct" style of writing the critics talk about it would take away the deep undertone the novel contains and it would lose it's classic quality.
Throughout history, and even today, people's racist society upbringing blinded them from forming their own opinion.
How to Cite this Page
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Charhf Huck Finn Racism Racist Novel Historical Accuracy Racial Stereotypes Black People Caring Many People Historically
Mark Twain also knew how much society had on people's opinions; therefore, he gave Huck a choice to form a opinion on his own. Huck could either turn Jim in because of society's influence on him or he would not turn in Jim because of their friendship.
" When Huck first meets Jim on the island he makes a monumental decision,
not to turn Jim in. He is confronted by two opposing forces, the force of
society and the force of friendship. Many times throughout the novel Huck
comes very close to rationalizing 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, Twain expresses his
opinions of the absurdity of slavery and the importance of following
one's personal conscience before the laws of society. By the end of the
novel, Huck and the reader have come to understand that Jim is not
Someone's property and an inferior man, but an equal."
All the satire and symbolism Mark Twain wrote in his great novel led me to believe that Huckleberry Finn does not portray racism. Instead Huckleberry Finn portrays historical accuracy, satire about racists and how much society can influence someone's opinions. " Mark Twain a "racist"! Isn't it about time we put this ridiculous notion to rest?"
Huckleberry Finn ( Huck Finn ) - Racism Essay
572 Words3 Pages
Huck Finn Racism Is Huck Finn A Racist Book?
Ever since its publication over a hundred years ago, controversy has swarmed around one of Mark Twain’s most popular novels, Huck Finn. Even then, many educators supported its dismissal from school libraries. For post Civil-War Americans, the argument stemmed from Twain’s use of spelling errors, poor grammar, and curse words. In the politically correct 1990’s however, the point of argument has now shifted to one of the major themes of the book: Racism. John Wallace once said of the book, “It’s the most grotesque version of racist trash” ever written. Were Twain’s archetypal characters and use of vernacular language an assertion of his own racist views, or a critique of the injustice of…show more content…
Huck Finn is not racist: It is a profound social statement on the inhumanity of slavery and of every individual’s born right to freedom.
In chapter 32, Aunt Sally and Huck discuss a steamboat explosion:
“Good Gracious! Anyone hurt?” asks Aunt Sally. “ No’m. Killed a nigger.” “ Well it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt.” This passage highlights Twain’s use of satire. On the surface, it could easily be interpreted as dehumanizing and bigoted, but Twain only uses it to reveal the cold truths of white attitudes in the 1800’s. It also presents the fact that Aunt Polly, one of the simplest and gentlest characters in the book, does not think twice about the violent death of a black person. While disguised as racism, Twain cleverly breaks down white-black relations to the inanities of prejudice.
Less subtle are Huck’s observations of Jim as their relationship progresses. Jim at first is nothing but a source of amusement for Huck, but Huck slowly discovers the real person inside. In Chapter 23, Huck states, “…I do believe that he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for ther’n.” Later, Huck goes even further to say, “I knowed Jim was really white inside.” From Huck, this naïve statement was the highest compliment he could have given Jim, and reiterates the idea that a black man can have true emotions and real feelings, something that was not commonly believed at the