Hypocrisy In Huckleberry Finn

1008 Words5 Pages
As Frederick Douglass once wrote, “the white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery”. The race struggle illustrated in the quotation has long existed in America, so it has had a tremendous impact on the nation’s history. This history is commonly depicted in literary works as a result. One example of this is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a historical fiction work by Mark Twain. The novel takes place in the pre-Civil War Midwest, and follows Huckleberry Finn and the adventures he embarks upon with his guardian’s slave, Jim. They are both escaping town (Huckleberry to escape the strict household of Miss Watson, and Jim to prevent being sold down south, away from his family). Taking place before slavery was even outlawed, the book’s main theme is racism. Consequently, it is heavily debated whether or not the book is too controversial, since the book does not directly argue against racism. However, Twain uses obvious uses of hypocrisy and creates a tenacious, complex character for Jim in the novel in order to dispute racism. In Huckleberry Finn, Twain uses obvious hypocrisy and irony to convey to the audience that the racism in the book is not justified. The first example of this is when Huck, after running from Miss Watson’s house, discovers Jim in the woods. He is angered at Jim for escaping his master, and after Jim says, “I—I run off”, Huck responds, “Jim!” (Twain 51). The reader can clearly see that Huck’s anger towards Jim for running away is
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