|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Racism Discrimination Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn|
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a lively tale written by Mark Twain. It is a story of Huckleberry Finn moving away from home to encounter memorable experiences. The story plot is set in Missouri in the 1840s, Huckleberry, a young man fearful of his drunkard father, runs away from home. He yearns for adventure, leaves his adoptive family, and joins Jim, a runaway slave, in a cruise down the Mississippi River toward the Free states. As their journey progresses, both Finn and Jim utilize a series of sporadic undertakings, whilst Finn gradually alters his racist perceptions. On their travel, they meet with the duke and the king, who eventually alters the route the protagonists had chosen to follow. As Finn starts changing his attitudes, he starts differentiating between right and wrong. And overwhelmingly, Finn is encountered with the ethical dilemma between the lessons Jim has taught him throughout the journey about the evils of bigotry, and the world's racial discrimination, of whim he has been brought up with. In the book's tale, there is racism as a theme. In the narrative, Jim, who is a loyal acquaintance of Finn, is referred to as a nigger, for example, which is a derogatory word. Therefore, this paper will analyze how Mark Twain's develops the theme of racism throughout the novel and the message he conveys about racism in the novel through the relationship between Finn and Jim.
Racism is an imperative theme in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; thus, it is critical to comprehend American society at the time. Twain's perspective about racism is shaped by the outcomes of the American civil war and the reconstruction period. A revolutionary occasion from the war was the declaration to free the slaves by Abraham Lincoln, which freed the southern states, slaves, bringing to an end African American slavery (Menaka and Sankar 3). The following period of reconstructions provided the Africans American with the right to vie for a political office and ability to vote. Nonetheless, these reformist initiatives were met with brutal aggression. Thus, supporters of white supremacy started forming groups such as Ku Klux Klan. Since these events were still fresh during the release of the novel, Twain was resolved to expose these evil cultural suggestions that were acceptable to the white Americans. Twain, through the novel, posits that it was a moral obligation for the white American society to permit black Americans equal rights as white Americans.
Twain aims at criticizing American society and helps the audience comprehend the evils of racism. In the novel, Jim is referred to as Miss Watson's big nigger and is teased by Fin and seemingly appears naive (Twain 5). Thus, Jim's introduction to the novel is racial stereotyping. When they meet, Jim reveals that he has been hiding for several days from Miss Watson, who plans to sell him (Twain 45). In this light, it shows the emotional impact slavery has caused African American; Jim fears to be sold and become a slave of a new master. Further, it reveals how African Americans slaves were treated as economic assets being sold at any time their white masters wished. Jim decides to solve his issue by running away to Illinois. In this scene, Twain portrays Finn and Jim as equals; they are both seen as victims of abuse, even though Jim's circumstance is more grave considering the racial bias in that time. Thus, Twain articulates that slavery is a social injustice and despicable.
The audience understands the plight of Jim; however, it is difficult for Finn to contemplate. For example, on reaching Illinois, Finn is undecided about Jim's search for freedom. Finn confesses of being sorry, hearing Jim claim that slavery was demeaning him and point out that his conscience stirred him hotter than ever (Twain 92). In this scene, it is evident that Finn saw Jim as an inferior human being, which is as a result of being brought up in racially biased south. Finn thinks that Jim is overstepping his place in society by attempting to be a free African American. Twain invites the audience to witness conflicting traits of Finn, questioning his superior racial identity. Thus, the audience should acknowledge that Finn needs to value and view Jim as an equal human being. The author encourages the audience to remember this view of Jim by Finn throughout their adventurous encounters with the king and the duke, whose guile turns on Finn selling Jim to gain a greater pay from Mrs. Watson.
Nevertheless, Finn fights against his upbringing racial prejudices and chooses to save Jim from slavery. "All right, then, I will go to Hell!" (Twain 217). Finn shows his resolve towards racial tolerance, which portrays Jim as an individual that deserves help. Twain describes Jim rescue as a justified action, and he continues to be shown as a sympathetic person. Finn and Tom Sawyer attempt to rescue Jim, where the latter is injured, and Jim resolves to stay with sawyer despite risking being recaptured, which has a great Impression on Finn. Moreover, Jim says to Finn that he would not bulge out of the place without a doctor even if it takes him forty years (Twain 278). As such, the author wants to portray Jim's brave actions to show his humanity instead of racial perceptions.
In conclusion, Mark Twain, in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn critiques racism. As such, Mark Twain's message conveyed is that readers must comprehend that they should oppose racial bias and attitudes that have been portrayed in the story. Further, the fact that Finn is the major protagonist, his traits have so much weight. Thus, his transition from racial bias and stereotypes to tolerance and acceptance ensures that the readers contemplate bigotry as wicked and morally wrong, and Jim should be treated as a human being going through appalling situations. As such, Twain's narrative exhibits him as a minority voice fighting for racial inclusion and equality against racial discrimination. Therefore, Twain criticizes racism within American society by humanizing Jim's character.
Menaka, G., and G. Sankar. "A Study on Racism and Slavery in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Asian Journal of Language, Literature, and Culture Studies (2018): 1-5.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Broadview Press, 2011.
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