Racism Exposed In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain

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Considered a controversial novel from the moment of its publication, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been accused of being racist and prejudiced repeatedly for over a hundred years. Written by famous American author Mark Twain, the novel portrays the American South before the Civil War. The novel points out, through satire of a society that embraced slavery, that racism is still a problem in an antebellum South. In the novel, a runaway slave named Jim travels with an adolescent companion, Huckleberry Finn, on an epic journey down the Mississippi river. Huck and Jim also encounter the absurdities of Southern culture, which shows that racism, supported by that culture, is in itself absurd. Therefore, the presumption of a racist attitude …show more content…
Throughout the novel, Jim, a slave and a member of the lowest caste of Southern society, is portrayed as perfect, and as an excellent person. He has a superior personality to any of the white characters in the novel, even with his dejected state. An example of Jim’s good nature is where he laments over the fact that he would never see his children again as a free man. Jim mourns, saying “Po’ little ‘Lizabeth! Po’ little Johnny! It’s mighty hard; I spec’ I ain’t ever gwyne to see you no mo’, no mo’!”(167). This shows how caring Jim is towards his children, which contrasts with Pap, who does not care at all what happens to Huck. When Pap learns that Huck is literate, he responds disgracefully, saying “…they say; you can read and write. You think you’re better’n your father, now, don’t you, because he can’t? I’ll take it out of you” (29). Pap does not want the best for Huck. Instead, he allows his pride to control him. In this way, Twain shows that a black man can be better than a white man. Jim isn’t just caring towards his family, he also deeply cares about Huck and Tom Sawyer, even though they treat him as subhuman. When Tom is injured, Jim expresses that he would rather become enslaved again than to leave Tom’s wounds untreated: “Ef it wuz him dat ‘uz bein’ set free, eno one er de boys wuz to git shot, would he say, ‘Go on en save me, nemmine …show more content…
The friendship that Huck and Jim develop in the story shows a great deal of trust and respect between the two, symbolizing in a way the trust and respect that can be developed between white and black people. After a practical joke played on Jim, Huck apologizes to Jim for tricking him. Huck says “I didn’t do no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way” (98). Huck’s regret here shows how he considers Jim as a friend, a friend he has to respect. Another sign of friendship is when Huck says he would go to Hell for “stealing” Jim. He exclaims “All right, then, I’ll go to hell’…And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again.”(228). In Southern society, freeing a slave is not only illegal, but also considered immoral. Twain considers this as nonsense by showing that even an adolescent with an undeveloped conscience would make the decision to free a slave, given the circumstances. A final example of Huck and Jim’s strong friendship is shown when Jim thanks Huck outright when he believes that they are reaching the “Free States.” Jim exclaims “Pooty soon I’ll be a-shout’n for joy, en I’ll say, it’s all on accounts o’ Huck; Huck done it. Jim won’t ever forget you, Huck; you’s de bes’ fren’ Jim’s ever had” (101).

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