Colloquialism In Huckleberry Finn

1482 Words 6 Pages
In a modern world where nearly every effort is made to absolve, reconcile, and forget racism, it is understandable that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is controversial for its frequent use of the word “nigger.” However, in a literary world where content is revered over substance and such colloquialisms are seen as authentic, the plot of the novel is more controversial than any word imaginable. Throughout the novel, Huck Finn and his escaped-slave companion, Jim, travel down the Mississippi River, running away from a life of civilization and a life of servitude, respectively. As Huck realizes his relationship with Jim, he has epiphanies about himself, slavery, and society. However, despite the profound meanings and themes, the book is often …show more content…
For example, much to the reader’s frustration, Tom believes Jim’s captivity at his aunt’s and uncle’s home is merely a game. When Tom accepts Huck’s plea for help, Huck himself “couldn’t understand it in no way at all [sic]” (Twain, 234). Evidently, Huck does not trust that Tom seriously wants to rescue a runaway slave. Twain shows that Tom’s perception of Jim’s slavery is very much similar to people’s of the time: that it is not a grave matter. Tom manipulates Jim for his own enjoyment, not understanding the moral implications. Furthermore, black Jim is defenseless against white, socially-superior Tom. Professor Leo Marx pointed out that “[o]n the raft he was an individual, man enough to denounce Huck when Huck made him the victim of a practical joke” (Marx, 5). While this may make it seem as though Jim devolved as a character, it shows that, after all, society has taught Jim to believe himself to be a slave when not with Huck on the raft, forever inferior to white men and unable to defend himself. Additionally, because Tom is knowledgeable of Jim’s actual freedom, he believes that he can merely pay Jim back for his troubles after the ordeal. As the reader is astounded by Tom’s rudeness and selfish nature, Twain proves to be critical of society’s inability to realize that slavery is more about physical captivity; instead, it is a manifestation of social …show more content…
In fact, the seemingly foolish nature of it emphasizes how important messages can be found in the events and perspective of the story. Also, Twain criticizes society’s underestimation of the significance of slavery, especially through Tom’s carelessness and misguided views. Furthermore, Huck’s beliefs are proven to be bohemian and his actions courageous in the scope of southern society. Because of these reasons, the controversial ending to Huck Finn is in fact effective, and Twain is worthy of praise. While critics believe that this is not the case, they fail to understand Twain’s purpose, as his writings are always motivated and no word is written without

Related Documents