The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered by many to be the greatest American novel ever written. Despite this praise, Mark Twain’s masterpiece has never been without criticism. Upon its inception it was blasted for being indecent literature for young readers because of its lack of morals and contempt for conformity. Modern indignation toward Huck Finn arises from its racist undertones, most notably Twain’s treatment of the character Jim. As is the case with many canonized yet controversial books, the biggest conflict revolves around the inclusion of Huck Finn on required reading lists of public schools throughout the country.
Originally, Huck believes that he should turn in Jim, a slave running away from being sold by Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. He does not see it as following the law, he just believes that it would be immoral for him not to turn in Jim to the cops. Huck Finn was raised to accept the idea of slavery which has been shaped by a society who accepted slavery. The pranks that Huck Finn pulled on Jim reflects Huck Finns attitude towards Jim 's intelligence. In the scene after Huck Finn and Jim get separated in the fog, Huck thinks Jim is stupid enough to believe that none of it
Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is said to be one of the greatest American novels to ever be written and is what all other pieces of American literature are based off of. The novel has been debated for over an entire century and will continue to be debated for much longer. Never the less, Huckleberry Finn teaches young students and adults the important life lessons. ”The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain should remain required reading in American Literature classes because it enlightens students about the horrors of racism and slavery, familiarizes students with the South during time period, and properly portrays the powers of conformity.
The Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, sisters who adopt Huck, have a slave by the name of Jim who, on the outside, appears to be both unintelligent and foolish, as by the impression received when Jim first speaks, “Who dah?” (Twain 6).
Throughout history, and even into present times, racism appears as an all too common societal concern. From slavery and discrimination to unequal rights, African Americans’ long history of mistreatment led to the desire and craving for freedom. In Mark Twain’s adventure novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, such motives from pre-emancipation era African American slaves become evident. In the novel, the characters’ attempts to leave the shackled south for the non-restrained north in hopes of freedom become justified. By analyzing and understanding how society feels about African Americans based on the geographical locations of the Southern United States, the Mississippi River, and the Northern United States, the reader comprehends the influential drive behind the desire to escape racism.
In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck matures during his journey on the Mississippi River, alongside his companion, Jim, a runaway slave. At the beginning of the novel, Twain, an ardent abolitionist, characterizes Huck as immoral and ignorant, to convey the racist lens through which whites saw blacks in the 1830s. When Huck escapes civilized society, he begins to form his own opinions, and his eyes open to different perspectives that allow him to develop and reach self-knowledge. As Huck’s character develops, it appears that his morality increases too, since he helps Jim run away, despite the consequences; however, in reality, it is only Huck’s respect for Jim that increases. Twain exemplifies this theme through
Many view Huckleberry Finn as a racist book for the portrayal of the runaway slave, Jim, but Twain writes from Huck’s point of view, who was a product of his society. In the book, while using dialect and actions accurate for the time and location, Twain never portrays Jim in a negative light. In contrast to Huck’s father, Jim cares about Huck. For example, when Jim and Huck are reunited after getting lost in the fog, Jim tells Huck, “my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no mo’ what become er me en de raf” (p. 157), as opposed to Huck’s father who only wants him around to prove he has control over Huck. This shows the difference between his white father who should be a strong male figure in his life, and a black man who actually looks out for Huck. Throughout the book, Huck comes to realize more and more that Jim is human just like
In Jim, he sees kindness, compassion, and integrity. Ultimately, this is what dissuades him from turning Jim in - Huck remembers Jim 's company, "Jim would always call me honey and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was" (Twain 95). Jim treats Huck with kindness and respect. Huck slowly realizes that even Jim, a slave, is a human-being. He questions the beliefs that had been inculcated in him from an early age. He goes on to help Jim evade imprisonment by lying to men who are trying to capture runaway slaves. Huck tells the men that his father has smallpox and deceives them into letting him, and Jim, leave. Huck’s action goes against everything he knows. He feels guilty for tricking the men (not turning in Jim), but conclusively states, “So I reckoned I wouldn’t bother no more about [right and wrong], but after this always do whichever comes handiest at the time”(Twain 120). Huck begins to realize that he should not feel shame for something that he feels is right. He learns that as an individual, he has the right to a set of beliefs - molded from his experiences - and that he does not have to do what is “socially acceptable”.
In the beginning of the novel, Huckleberry doesn’t see slaves as equals he just views them as slaves until he starts to view Jim in a different light and sees him as an equal and a friend. Huck gets to know Jim personally and realizes that Jim has a family and people that he cares about who he was taken away from because of slavery and societies beliefs. This development is shown in chapter thirty-one when Huck realizes how much Jim means to him, “...and such-like time; and would always call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was…” (Twain 206). Huckleberry remembers all of the good things that Jim has done for him while they’ve traveled together and he realizes what Jim means to him. Furthermore showing how Huck’s views have changed from just seeing Jim as another slave to seeing him as his friend and someone he cares for and wants to help. When Huck’s views on Jim change it shows that people really can
Mark Twain shows Huck’s inner conflict over Jim being a slave and whether Huck should turn Jim in or not. In the novel, as Huck and Jim travel along the river, Huck struggles with the dilemma of turning in his friend, a slave, Jim. Back to Mrs. Watson. “Conscience says to me, “What had poor
Twain uses Huck to make decisions based on this hypocritical slave-owning, Christian lifestyle. Huck must choose to either aid a runaway slave named Jim or return him to Miss Watson, while the white society of the South would expect Huck to return Jim to Miss Watson. Huck and Jim 's friendship makes this a significant decision because Huck is morally conflicted. Jim is his friend, but he is also the property of Miss Watson. An excerpt from Magill 's Survey of American Literature puts the situation in a right perspective exclaiming “Jim is property before he is man, and Huck is deeply troubled, surprisingly, by the thought that he is going to help Jim, not only because he sees it, in part, as a robbery, but more interestingly, because he sees his cooperation as a betrayal of his obligation to the
A major theme in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is slavery and our evolvement towards the institution. “In fact, Twain’s novel is often taught as the text that epitomizes this tradition, with Huck held up as its exemplar: a boy courageous enough to stand against the moral conventions of his society. . .” (Bollinger, 32 – Say It Jim) In the beginning of Huckleberry Finn’s relationship with Jim, he has little respect for him and as their journey progresses he
Huck’s views regarding black people come into question when Huck and Jim run away together. Their experiences together let them become closer to each other and let Huck recognize Jim as a human being with real feelings. Huck starts to view Jim as a caring individual when they are on the raft. This is a scene taken from when Jim and Huck were working together on the raft and Jim was trying to protect them both from the rain, “Jim took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a snug wigwam to get under in blazing weather and rainy, and to keep the things dry. Jim made a floor for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above the level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the traps was out of reach of steamboat waves” (Twain, pg 64). In this part of the novel, Huck seems to be all Jim has, and Jim is also all Huck seems to have, and they work together to build a place that the waves cannot reach them. Their feeling of friendship is born through working together and protecting each other. Even though Huck and Jim are having new experiences together, Huck’s conscience is still going back and forth about the idea of freeing a slave. This quote is taken from when Huck
Despite an ardent view on slavery evident through interactions with Jim, Huck’s slowly shifting view of Jim from that of ignorance to seeming acceptance expresses his ability to stray from flawed societal values to his own developed moral code of conduct. This becomes evident when Huck protects Jim from men who board his raft, by hinting he has smallpox. Although one can see this as compassion for Jim, Huck questions with racist undertones, “s’pose you done right and give Jim up; would you felt better than you do now? No, says I, I’d feel bad” (Twain 127). However, he later affirms himself to “do whatever come handiest at the time.” (Twain 127). At this point, society still influences Huck, but his statement marks his decision to detach from societal values, and eventually allows him to form his own views on Jim. This comes slowly, as Huck cannot shake free from racism.