Homeless and Neglected Children in the 19th Century Essay example

2098 Words9 Pages
Homeless and Neglected Children in the 19th Century In his novel Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain creates a fictional character that must confront very real problems as a result of cultural and social issues of the time. Many of these such issues, slavery and race relations being the most prominent, are dealt with significantly by the author, but another issue not addressed in any sort of overtly significant manner is the plight of homeless, neglected, and otherwise abused children in the 19th century. While Twain in no way attempts to create a commentary on these issues, one cannot avoid focusing on the situation in which he has placed his protagonist. On the surface, Twain's words seem to convey a relatively light-hearted…show more content…
Huck is also met with a variety of potentially life threatening situations during his time running and hiding with Jim. Again, Huck is a mere figment of the author's imagination; therefore, when confronted with a dangerous situation, he is able to make correct choices for himself, at the young age of 12. It is hard to believe that most real world 12-year-old children would be capable of making the same good choices when left to their own devices. Granted, Huck was accustomed to a life of neglect, which would feasibly enable him to deal better with the atrocities and demands of his particular situation, but the sadness lies in the fact that he had become accustomed to such a life in the first place. In today’s world, children are seen as individuals who have certain rights as human beings, and who are worthy of external (or non family) protection. This has not always been the case. For the better part of the 19th century, there were no rules or regulations in effect that prevented the mistreatment of children, since they were thought to be completely under the control of their immediate family (University of Delaware). It was not until 1874 that the first organization concerned with the protection of children was established in New York. The group called themselves the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SPCC), after the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which was an organization in England that had

More about Homeless and Neglected Children in the 19th Century Essay example

Open Document