Huckleberry Finn - Social and Literary Aspects

3618 WordsOct 8, 199915 Pages
Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel about a young boys coming of age in Missouri of the mid-1800s. The main character, Huckleberry Finn, spends much time in the novel floating down the Mississippi River on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim. Before he does so, however, Huck spends some time in the fictional town of St. Petersburg where a number of people attempt to influence him. Before the novel begins, Huck Finn has led a life of absolute freedom. His drunken and often missing father has never paid much attention to him; his mother is dead and so, when the novel begins, Huck is not used to following any rules. <br> <br>The book's opening finds Huck living with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Both…show more content…
(Twain, Mark) <br> <br>Mark Twain and racism almost always appear together in critics articles yet is racism really the problem? There is a major argument among literary critics whether Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is or is not a racist novel. The question boils down to the depiction of Jim, the black slave, and the way Huck and other characters treat him. The use of the word "nigger" is also a point raised by some critics, who feel that Twain uses the word too much and too loosely. Mark Twain never presents Jim in a negative light. He does not show Jim as a drunkard, as a mean person, or as a cheat. This is in contrast to the way Huck's (white) father is depicted, whom Twain describes using all of the above characterizations and more. We see Jim as a good friend, a man devoted to his family and loyal to his companions. He is, however, very naive and superstitious. Some critics say that Twain is implying that all blacks have these qualities. When Jim turns to his magic hairball for answers about the future, we see that he does believe in some foolish things. But all the same, both blacks and whites visit Jim to use the hairballs powers. This type of naiveté was abundant at the time and found among all races as the result of a lack of proper education. So the depiction of Jim is not negative in the sense that Jim uneducated and in this aspect of the story clearly there is no racism intended. It is next necessary
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