Isolation In Intruder In The Dust And Huck Finn

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Isolation in Intruder in the Dust and Huck Finn The failure to accept societal standards leads one to become isolated. During the time at which Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain were written, people were conditioned to accept the fundamental values which had been followed for centuries. These fundamental values set societal standards. Those who did not accept these standards escaped these values in order to gain a sense of freedom and independence, thus becoming isolated from society. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck escapes from his hometown in Missouri in order to avoid the abusive nature of his father. On the way, he encounters Jim, who he treats as a friend, and together, they continue to run from their situations at home by building a raft and setting sail on the Missouri River. His decision to escape with Jim occurs when he finds out people are out in search of Jim, and when he tells Jim, "They're after us!" (Twain 81).

His relationship with Jim at this point is that he treats him as his equal, and crosses the social boundary between black and white people set by society. Black people were thought of as inferior to the white race, and therefore were treated that way, yet Huck treats Jim as an equal and, therefore, sets himself apart from the norms of society. Later on in the novel, after struggling with his conscience when deciding whether he should inform Miss. Watson of Jim's capture by the Phelpses', he finally decides, "˜"All right then, I'll go to hell"'(Twain 273) after realizing how good Jim had been to him since they began their journey. Even after this resolution, he goes on to say, ""¦and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that too"¦" (Twain 273). Ironically, however, he believes he will go to hell for doing the wrong thing, but in actuality he is doing the right thing. He again sets himself apart from society, isolating himself, intellectually, from what was socially acceptable. Twain's use of imagery to describe Jim and Huck's life on the river emphasizes the feeling of Huck's isolation from society. The carefree lifestyle is described as ""¦Smooth and lovely"¦and next you've got the full day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the songbirds just going at it!" (Twain 151), as opposed to living in a house, which seems much more confined. Similarly in Intruder in the Dust, Lucas is secluded on the property he inherits from Carothers McCaslins. Faulkner's use of simile to describe his land as ""¦an oblong of earth set forever in the middle of the two-thousand "“acre plantation like a postage stamp in the center of an envelope"¦" (Faulkner 8) emphasizes how isolated he is from society. Living on his property has given Lucas a sense of freedom, because now he will not be stereotyped with other members in his race. Although he does not have any friends, and is isolated from the community, being different, and not being stereotyped with the black race as being inferior has given him a sense of freedom, and a sense of independence.

Unlike Huck, however, Lucas sets himself outside of his community purposely by missing all social gatherings in which most people of his race attend. As Charlie recalls, ""¦In fact it would be a year from the last time before he would realise that he had never seen him in town on Saturday when all the other Negroes and most of the whites too from the country came in"¦" (Faulkner 24). His denial of the social standards of his being part of an inferior race leave him isolated from both the black and white race. The white race does not accept him because they believe "He's got to admit he's a nigger. Then maybe we will accept him as he seems to intend to be accepted" (Faulkner 18). He, however, does not want to accept these social standards, and thus is isolated from society. Both Huck and Lucas become isolated from society because of their failure to accept societal standards and expectations. This isolation, however, is not negative, because both Huck and Lucas break biased social expectations, which is the first step towards change and conformity.

Racial prejudice within society causes segregation and isolation of two races from each other, physically, and intellectually. Faulkner and Twain, both realist writers wrote about the effects of racism in their books. Race was a very controversial subject matter at the time of which these books took place. In Twain's novel, slavery was at its peak in the South. Every household owned a slave, which was very acceptable socially and morally in society. Many slaves such as Jim, however, attempted to escape their duties as a slave and gain freedom in the north where they could begin a new life. During the 1940's, the era in which Intruder in the Dust takes place, slaves had already long since gained their freedom, yet blacks were still treated unequally in society, especially in the south. In Twain's novel, the black race is isolated from the white race intellectually. White people considered blacks inferior to them because of the way the were conditioned to believe. Black people were slaves to white people, and were completely segregated from any activities preformed by white people. At the Grangerford's house at the dinner, " Each person had their own nigger to wait on them- Buck too. My nigger had a monstrous easy time, because I warn't used to having anybody to do anything for me, but Buck's was on the jump most of the time" (Twain 137). While the family is eating, the slaves just stand around and wait on them. There is a very large gap between the two races in this particular scene in the book. They are isolated from any form of intellectual bond with the white race, and just serve as a mechanical means of getting work done. The two races are both isolated from eachother in such a way that they can live so close to eachother, yet not know anything about one another. Another example of this form of isolation is shown when Huck and Aunt Sally fist meet, and talk about the accident which Huck fakes so he can get away with staying with the Phelpses'. He tells Aunt sally that the boat "blew out a cylinder head", and after asking if any one got hurt, and the answer being "no'm. Killed a nigger", she says" Well its lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt" (Twain 282). This quote clearly portrays the lack of sympathy shown towards the black rac because of the lack of communication. Many hite people such as Aunt Sally shared the common view that blacks were inferior to whites. She feels no connection to the black race and does not even consider them human. This portrays how the isolation of one race from another auses isolation between people. Similarly this theme is portrayed in Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner. In this book black people were free, but still were excluded from society. Lucas Beouchamp for example, goes into a regular grocery store one day, and is treated roughly because he is black, and should not be around in a white store. Another example of this kind of discrimination is at Sheriff Hamptons home when everyone is led into the dining room, and Aleck Sander is left in the kitchen. He is thought of as lower, so theresore he could not eat with the white folk.



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