, Research Paper
Is there Racism in Huckleberry Finn?
As we look into issues of racism in the South we have to look at the time and setting of this book. It?s before the Civil War and during slavery when black people were property and not people. Twain?s intent on writing is to show the adventures of Huck and his close friends, and not on the issues of slavery. He does however tell the truth about slavery and the issues that surround it.
This book does not display racist issues toward anybody, but does a great job in telling the life of a runaway slave, Jim, and a white boy, Huck. For example, the story introduces Jim as an illiterate, childlike, not very bright and extremely superstitious black man growing up in the South during slavery. This would be a typical description of most men of his age growing up at that time, and not just a black man. For people to think this book is about racism, they are totally looking at and understanding this book from the wrong point of view. In addition, in chapter fifteen Jim is totally worried that he might have lost Huck in a deep fog and could be seen her as a father figure to Huck (Jim, 112). If this were about racism, why would Jim worry if he lost Huck or not. Twain did a great job of showing how Huck and Jim cared about each other throughout the entire novel and how they stick together until the end. Furthermore, Huck cares for Jim
because every time he had the chance to turn him in he never could do it though he was raised up to not like black people. This in reality rarely happened that a white boy would lie his way out to save a runaway slave. By Huck doing this, it shows the true friendship between a black man and a white boy who was raised in the South during slavery. This shows how Twain wrote a book about two totally different people and how they shared their lives together in a time where white and black people weren?t supposed to get along.
Twain only tells the truth of slavery in the south and how sometimes white and black people do become friends. For example, by the end we understand that while Huck was trying to save Jim, he was free the whole time because Widow Douglass had died and freed Jim in her will. Even when Jim is caught we can see the strong friendship displayed because Huck is trying so hard to free him. Twain is again displaying great details about their love for one another. In addition, Huck tells Jim, ?This is nice I wouldn?t want to be nowhere else but here. ? (Huck, 66). This shows the love of Huck toward Jim that he could be anywhere, but where he was at was the place he wanted to be. We can clearly see how a boy and a black man have grown so close through all the times and adventures together. Furthermore, in one scene Aunt sally hears of a steamboat explosion and asks if anyone is killed and they say no, but, killed a nigger. People that take that literally don?t know much about the south doing slavery where black people weren?t people, but they were property. Twain is only telling the truth of the south, though to some people it appears as racism. Twain does an excellent job in proving that Jim and Huck are friends and Huck looks beyond Jim?s skin color.
As we see throughout the novel Twain shows different incidents that bring Jim and Huck closer together. From Huck not turning in Jim to Jim being worried he drowned they both show a care for each other that totally goes against the idea of racism. Twain is only giving the facts and that?s what makes this piece of work so great. He tells the life of a white boy and a black man becoming friends in a time when it you never heard of such a thing.
Salwen, Peter, ?Is Huck Finn Racist?? 1996, http//www.salwen.com/mtracer.html. Feb. 5, 2001.
Sauder, Diane, ?Literature Notes on The Adventures of Huck Finn.? 2000 http//www.pinkmonkey.com Feb.25, 2001.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, New York, Amsco School Publications, Inc. , 1972