Adventures Of Huck Finn And Racism Essay

, Research Paper

There is a current debate that the description of Jim in the novel

"Huckleberry Finn" is racist leading to some schools banning it from

their libraries. Jim?s character is described as an uneducated and simple

sounding; illiterate slave and some people have looked upon this

characterization as racist. Jim is depicted as a slave in the south during a

period when slavery was common place and widely accepted as the way of life.

Slaves of this time period were not provided any formal education; never allowed

any independent thought and were constantly mistreated and abused. The author in

my opinion is merely describing how a slave spoke in those days and was trying

to give you the true feeling behind his thought, while writing this tale.

Despite a few instances in which Jim?s description might be misconstrued as

being racist, such as the use of the word "nigger", the reader should

be able to understand that this is a fictional portrayal of two boys, one white

and one black, during a time when slavery was common place. There is an obvious

contrast of the mind set depicted in Twain?s novel compared to then and now.

The use of the word "nigger" is most certainly a very slanderous slang

term that is not socially acceptable in present times. The dialect in which Jim

is speaking indicates how Jim spoke do to his lack of education and refinement

that white people refused to provide to slaves. This provision was not permitted

as white slave owners viewed blacks as property and as being unable to learn

proper grammar and structure of the English language. Some historians have

stated that this was also so because it allowed the white?s to maintain

control over their slaves in order to "keep the upper hand", so to

speak. We as a modern society should maintain an open mind when dealing with

literary works such as Huckleberry Finn and bare in mind that novels such as

these are written during socially diverse and sometimes opposite ways of

thinking. We should not ban a literary work such as Huckleberry Finn simply

because it is not accepted by modern day standards. As we look further into the

character?s( Jim?s) dialogue we find that Twain has written as accurately as

possible the way that he would sound and also to make you stop and think and

picture in your mind him speaking that way. Though difficult to interpret at

times, it gives you an authentic feel of this character?s persona. For those

that are die-hard readers, that "lose themselves" in what they are

reading, this approach is ideal.


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