Analysis Of Racism In Huck Finn

This essay has a total of 1160 words and 5 pages.

Analysis Of Racism In Huck Finn


To teach or not to teach? This is the question that is presently on many administrators'
minds about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. For those who read the book
without grasping the important concepts that Mark Twain gets across "in between the
lines", many problems arise. A reader may come away with the impression that the novel is
simply a negative view of the African-American race. If we believe that Huck Finn is used
only as a unit of racism we sell the book short. I feel that there is much to be learned
about Blacks from this book and it should not be banned from the classroom. This is only
one of many themes and expressions that Mark Twain is describing in his work. I believe
that in Huck Finn slavery is used as insight into the nature of blacks and whites as
people in general. Overall, the most important thing to understand is that Mark Twain is
illustrating his valuable ideas without pushing them upon the reader directly.


I believe that "Huck Finn" teaches a reader two important lessons about the true nature of
people. Throughout the book, one of these main lessons is that Blacks can be just as
caring as whites. The white characters often view the blacks as property rather than as
individuals with feelings and aspirations of their own. Huck comes to realize that Jim is
much more than a simple slave when he discusses a painful experience with his daughter.
Jim describes how he once called her and she did not respond. He then takes this as a sign
of disobedience and beats her for it. Soon realizing that she is indeed deaf, he comforts
her and tries to make up for the act of beating. The feeling that Jim displays shows Huck
that Jim has a very human reaction and the fact Jim says, "Oh Huck, I bust out
crying....'Oh the po' little thing!" (Twain 151), only further proves to Huck that Jim is
as caring as he is. Huck's realization allows him to see that Jim is no longer the
ordinary slave.


The point where Huck completely changes his attitudes towards blacks comes when he is
faced with the dilemma of turning Jim in. Huck fights with his conscience and also
remembers the things that Jim has done for him. "I'd see him standing my watch on top of
his'n, stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I
come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the
feud was; and such likes the times: 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) These two key
scenes are among many that illustrate the idea that Blacks can be as caring and emotional
as Whites - one of the main lessons of the book.


The second main lesson that the book teaches is that the world is full of hypocrites. Huck
realizes that through his experiences with Jim that Blacks are not the type of horrible,
unworthy, piece of property that they are made out to be. People like Miss Watson tell
Huck that blacks were nothing but property and should be treated as such. Huck now knowing
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