Comparing the Struggle for Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Native Son

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Struggle for Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Native Son

Throughout history, great authors have served as sentinels for racism and prejudice in American society. The Mark Twain novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a graphic story of 1840s America that depicts the plight of an uneducated black slave named Jim moved many to empathize with African-Americans. Compassion against the evils of slavery soon spread across the country. A war-torn America abolished slavery in 1865. However, Richard Wright’s 1940 novel, Native Son, a compelling story of the life and death of another black man, Bigger Thomas, makes a convincing argument that slavery in America was still very much alive during that period. Civil rights legislation
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To Huck, a slave is another’s property or investment; so consequently, he believes Jim is wrong to run from his master. Living in a society tolerant of such deep-rooted racism and prejudice, Jim’s generation is challenged merely to survive.

To Jim, freedom’s goals are simple—the opportunity to be with his family and live without fear of being captured or killed.

By the 1930’s, an imaginary freedom fills black men with dreams and aspirations that society still refuses to allow them to achieve. Unlike Jim, Bigger receives an education and is taught what every white child is taught, but the moment he leaves school, he knows that “the white boy [goes] one way and he [goes] another” (Wright 394). Education presents Bigger with obstacles Jim never faces. It makes Bigger’s life even more difficult to accept because knowledge simulates him and develops “impulses which all of us have, but then [makes him] realize that he [can’t] act upon them” (394). Bigger’s generation is led to believe a promise: earn an education, don’t make trouble and you can better yourself. But even with an education, Bigger finds himself in a position similar to Jim, with no opportunity; in fact, his friend tells him, “If you wasn’t black and if you had some money and if they’d let you go to that aviation school, you
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