The Role Of Racism In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn

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Mark Twain 's Huckleberry Finn is one of the most highly criticised novels in American history. This book is about a young boy, Huck Finn, who goes on many adventures, encountering a wide variety of people, including an escaped slave named Jim. He would travel the Mississippi River with Jim and would eventually work to free him from the captivity of the family of his best friend, Tom Sawyer. The book 's use of the “N” word is often mistaken by readers as Mark Twain writing the book with the intent of it being racist. Mark Twain is one of the greatest writers ever when it comes to using satire to get his point across. His “racist” point of view in Huckleberry Finn are just another great example of that. This book is written in a regionalist …show more content…
The obvious way this book is considered racist is its blatant use of the word “nigger”. Read out of context in today’s society, yes, this word is racist, and even in the way it is used in the book, it 's racist, but this book is not based in modern-times. Huckleberry Finn was written when cruel and unjust treatment of blacks was common and the use of that word didn’t even get a second thought. The “N” word was used in that era like the word “bro” is today. It wasn’t even used with the intent of being a derogatory term. It was more of a nickname for slaves. This is all representative of how Twain wrote in a regionalist tone. He did not use these words with the intent of being racist himself, but with the intent of showing just how racist society was in the pre-civil war era. Some of the actions in Huck Finn could be misconstrued as racist as well. One example would be when Huck talks to Aunt Sally about a steamboat explosion. Twain drives home a point about the white south’s view of blacks. After Aunt Sally asks Huck if anybody was hurt, this was Huck’s reply, "No 'm. Killed a nigger." To which Aunt Sally replied, "Well, it 's lucky; …show more content…
In the story, Huck deals with an internal conflict about racism for nearly the whole novel. One example is after he plays the trick on Jim, when he debates with himself whether he should or should not apologize to him. “It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn 't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn 't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn 't done that one if I 'd a knowed it would make him feel that way.” Huck shows in this excerpt that even though he has the racist background, he has remorse. His racist background shows through in that he is reluctant to apologize, but he would not have played the trick on Jim if he knew it would upset him. Most people in this time period would not think twice about making a black upset. They may even go out of their way to make them feel bad about themselves and they would feel no remorse whatsoever, but Huck did. At the end of the story when Jim is held captive by the Phelps’, Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson that tells where Jim is and signs it with his name. After he finishes writing the letter, he’s relieved and is happy that he has saved himself from going to hell for helping a slave, but instead of just being happy with his decision, Huck thinks about their trip down the river. He remembers how the two of them had such a good time

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