What Is Racism In Huckleberry Finn

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Racism in the White Society
In the 18th century America was entangled in the web of slavery. Along with slavery came racism and despotism against the African-Americans. Although Huck and Jim grow closer throughout the story, Society makes Huck prejudiced against African-Americans. Through Huck, Mark Twain shows how deeply rooted racism was in the white society in his book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Having spent a few months with the civilised society, Huck characterises Jim and other slaves as superstitious. When Huck and Tom play a mean prank on Jim, he reasonably considers it to be witchcraft owing to his illiteracy. Huck states “Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire;[...]” (Twain, 6). Huck says
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While living in St. Petersburg he was taught Miss Watson is a good person regardless of the fact she owns slaves. This makes him want to turn Jim in and thinks “What had poor Miss Watson done to you that could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word” (Twain, 88). He thinks he’s betraying Miss Watson by letting her slave escape and he’s stealing her property. Society has taught him helping runaway slaves is immoral as he tells Jim “People would call me a low-down abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum.” (Twain, 43). Being an abolitionist and saving innocent lives is considered a reprehensible act in the society. In reality Huck has done nothing immoral but living in the society has completely changed his conscience. Consequently making him battle whether he should tell Miss Watson about Jim’s whereabouts and says “It would get all around that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I was ever to see anybody from that town again I’d be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame” (Twain, 212). By helping Jim, Huck is conscious about his image in the society and would do anything to redeem his reputation if it gets spoilt, even if he has to lick boots. Basically, helping a human being escape to his freedom is considered shameful and immoral in the white society. Giving Huck misleading information about immorality and changing his …show more content…
Initially when Huck was venturing out at night with Tom Sawyer, Tom “slipped Jim’s hat off his his head and hung it on a limb right over him” (Twain, 6). He witnesses how Tom entertained himself by playing a prank on Jim or how one can makes himself bigger by taking advantage of a person especially an African-American. Motivated by this when Huck finds a rattlesnake in the cavern he “[...] killed him, and curled him up on the foot of Jim’s blanket, ever so natural, thinking there’d be some fun Jim found him there” (Twain, 52). The prank leads to Jim being “laid up for four days and nights” (Twain, 53). To have fun, Huck’s prank nearly cost Jim his life. However, Jim never receives a proper apology from Huck. By playing this prank Huck exhibits the white society’s perception of African-Americans being lesser humans. Even so, Huck doesn’t learn his lesson as he plays another trick on Jim. When he and Jim get separated in the fog for a whole night he “made fast and laid down under Jim’s nose on the raft and began to gap, and stretch [his] fists out against Jim” (Twain, 83). Jim thought Huck was dead and he acts as they never got separated. So when Jim sees “the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the smashed oar.” (Twain, 85) he gets upset. However, Huck was still reluctant before he “could work myself up to go ad humble myself to a nigger” (Twain, 86). Society made him to be ignorant

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