Oppression Of Society In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain

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As a country that prides itself with the idealistic notions of liberty, justice, and equality, the roots of America’s history deem otherwise. For centuries, an atrocious system of oppression was forced upon millions of African Americans. They were dehumanized, tortured, and murdered in ways that there are no words powerful enough to genuinely describe. As slaves cried and begged for freedom, the country based on democracy reared its ugly head and turned the other way, repudiating the very principles of its founding. Using his satirical writing, Mark Twain strived to identify and unmask the harsh realities of slavery, challenging the common discourses of society. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain provides an accurate portrayal …show more content…
During the 1800s, African American slaves were brutally oppressed, ruthlessly denied the most basic civil rights, and savagely beaten to submission. Linda Brent depicts a slave’s viewpoint in the Incidents In The Life of A Slave Girl with “We are dogs here; foot-balls, cattle, every thing that’s mean. No, I will not stay. Let them bring me back. We don’t die but once” (Brent 34). For hundreds of years, African Americans like Jim were dehumanized to nothing but “dogs, foot-balls, cattle,” oppressed to the point that slaves would declare “we don’t die but once,” asserting that even dying would be better than living in this destitute situation. Throughout his novel, Twain provides an accurate portrayal of this oppressive treatment as Jim and the entire African American society are also constantly forced to subjugation in all aspects of life. Although the most extreme accounts of brutal degradation and traumatizing torture are not depicted in this novel, the widespread oppressive treatment socially and mentally of African Americans is still prominent. When Huck questions Jim why he decided to run away, Jim explains that “she [Ms. Watson] treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’ sell me down to Orleans [...] I hear old missus tell the de widder she gwyne to sell me down to …show more content…
Some readers may argue that this novel leaves remnants of racism, since at first, Jim seems to epitomize the “inferior” slave, with his broken speech, silly superstitions, and mindless acquiesce to whites. As the novel progresses though, Mark Twain overtly illustrates a deeper side to Jim, creating the most compassionate and humane character in the story. In fact, when help is needed to save a patient’s life, the doctor describes, “out crawls this nigger from somewheres and says he’ll help, and he done it, too, and done it very well...I never see a nigger that was a better nuss of faithfuler, and yet he was risking his freedom to do it…” (Twain 286). Despite the inhumane stereotype forced upon him, as Jim “crawls” instead of standing up due to his subjugation and struggle for dignity, Jim proves his humanity and inherent goodness once again by saving another at the expense of his own freedom. Indeed, as the most honest, caring, and good-hearted character, Jim provides a stark contrast to corrupted whites like Pap, who is abusive, drunk, and callous. The hypocrisy that such an abhorrent person is considered superior than a kind-hearted Jim solely because of the color of skin demonstrates the flaws embedded in society. As Leslie Gregory of Florida Gulf Coast University explains in her literary

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