Satire And Irony, Much Like Doughnuts And Bribery

1569 Words Jan 28th, 2016 7 Pages
The use of satire and irony, much like doughnuts and bribery, tends to be a creative way of getting someone to see things from your viewpoint. Unfortunately, unlike doughnuts and bribery, satire and irony are often misinterpreted by the public in extraordinary ways. What was meant to be educational might be deemed ignorant, and what was meant to be a productive critique of race relations and the educational system might be deemed “the most grotesque example of racist trash ever written.”
While I’m not trying to call out one person in particular for misunderstanding my work (and certainly not a Mr. John H. Wallace), I would like to clarify my intentions in writing my most misunderstood piece of work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I
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What is my point? It is this: Huck, a boy who obviously has a great affection for Jim, is not able to express his love in the way he should be able to. As a direct result of attempts to “sivilize” him, Huck cannot see Jim as anything other than a n****r, someone inhuman and strange who he is not allowed to be close to. There is something inherently wrong there, and Huck himself realizes at different points that what he has been taught is wrong. He does this once when he empathizes with Peter Wilks’ nieces, who are crying over the sale of their n****rs (who they loved) and again when he makes a conscious decision to help Jim, even though he knows it goes against what he has been taught. Therefore, the racist terms that Huck uses – and note here that it is Huck using them, not me, because even at the time this was written, the “n-word” was already distasteful – don’t come from a place of prejudice. They come from a place of confusion about how to refer to someone with whom he shares a bond, even when society tells him that a bond like that should be impossible to form. So the simple response of offense here, while understandable, doesn’t lead to a proper conclusion. Trying to understand where this offense comes from and why it is necessary for Huck to use this word is more productive, and my intended result.
Jim’s character and personality
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