The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Racism

Essay by greesthosHigh School, 10th grade May 2005

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The twentieth century has come to an amazing finale. Racism, ethnic prejudice and hate are on the decline. Perhaps some of these changes can be attributed to the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in which Mark Twain addresses the issues of racism and slavery. He writes in a humorous, almost childish way, yet the themes are clear and poignant. Twain utilizes Huck Finn and Jim as the ideal characters because they are the ones at the end of the novel who realize slavery is wrong. Mark Twain establishes the ideals by portraying them through the protagonists, Huck and Jim and criticizes the failure to live up to them by portraying them through the antagonists, Miss Watson.

Prejudice can be observed throughout the novel by the way the other characters treat Huck. Twain portrays Huck as an average boy of his time, mischievous, adventurous and funny. The society Huck lives in labels him "uncivilized" because he has an abusive, drunk father.

"By and by pap got too handy with his hick'ry and I couldn't stand it. I was all over with welts" (Twain page #). Here the reader can observe the ultimate failure of an uncivilized person. Pap is an alcoholic, a dead beat and a racist. Nevertheless, society also considered Huck "uncivilized" because he did not wear shoes did not always attend school and he smoked. Society criticized Huck as uncivilized due to physical appearance when really Huck turned out to be more civilized than any other character in the novel because he learns how to respect Jim. Through the ironic criticism of society trying to civilize Huck, Huck teaches us a lesson on being civilized.

In the novel, Jim runs away from his slave owner, Miss Watson. By doing a thing like that Jim could have been...



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