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Mark Twain: Racist Or Writer Of Time

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Autor:   •  May 15, 2011  •  2,114 Words (9 Pages)  •  678 Views

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"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Racist or Writer of Era"

What would you think if you heard "nigger" or "poor white trash" in every other sentence in a novel you were reading? Society usually reflects its ideals and standards through its most popular literature. Every prejudice and standard of inequality are all stated and accepted as the way of life. Most authors will create their publishing that will be adverse in the way the society sees itself. This is the way Twain approached with "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". He used a plot that dealt with such controversial topics such as mental & physical abuse in all aspects. Because of the language Twain uses in his novel, many today believe it to promote racism. In turn, they have called for banishment in school systems. I believe if people could get beyond Twain's language in the novel, which is a reflection in which it was written, many would understand that this is a writing of era, not one to discriminate against races. In my opinion, I do not see where it could influence students to think in this manner. He wrote in a time in which these phrases and words were commonplace. I believe that his writing would give children great insight into the time and era in which he wrote. Children are far more accepting of differences in races and people as a whole than ever before.

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"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was story of Huck's struggle to win freedom for himself and Jim, a Negro slave. The main character, Huckleberry Finn, spends much time in the novel floating down the Mississippi River on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim. Before he does so, however, Huck spends some time in the fictional town of St. Petersburg where a number of people attempt to

Influence him. Huck's feelings grow stronger through the novel especially in his feelings toward his friends, family, blacks, and society. Throughout the book, Huck usually looks into his own heart for guidance. Moral intuition is the basis on which his character rests on.

As the story continues, Huck and Jim's friendship took plenty of time to develop and had many bumps in the road; their relationship develops into a strong one that will last a long time. Through it all, Huck triumphed over society and followed his heart, and Jim helped Huck to mature and became free. Their journey to friendship is one to remember. Huck is a developing character throughout the novel. Much of his development is due to his association with Jim and his increasing respect for the black man. Huck and Jim start their long journey down the Mississippi River to Cairo where Jim will find his freedom. It is on this journey where Huck slowly develops a respectful friendship with Jim. Later fate decides to test Huck and they run into a group of slave hunters. Huck is still a little confused between right and wrong and decides to turn Jim in, but at the last second Huck begins to lie in order to keep Jim from being discovered. Throughout the course of the novel Huck changed from a boy who shared the narrow-minded opinion which looked down on Negroes, to one where he viewed

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them as equals. In my opinion this would be his greatest emotional step in the novel. Huck is a very personable narrator. He tells his story in plain language. It is through his precise trusting eyes that the reader sees the world through his novel.

I believe that "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a book that can be used to explain racial conflict in the years ago when racism was first introduced. People that feel as though this book should be ban should realize that we are still living in a time that racism exists. I see people that feel as though this book is racist have their own issues with race, and you should lighten up when the issues come up. "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" should be allowed in all public school systems in the United States, and actually it should be mandated for students to read this book. With that being said, his writing did not come without critics. Unfortunately, Twain did not live long enough to see how his writing caused such a uproar in modern day society. Critics such as Kaye, Sloan, Scott, and Hurt, voice their opinions very vividly.

Many people feel the same as I do. Twain opened light to what many have not be told; what many have no explanation to what happened in history. Frances Kaye states that Twain "sugar coats reality". She believes that it helps you swallow the bitter pill of reality, which is our very own history. I believe she felt as though Twain brought a brighter light on the shameful acts of our fathers. I believe that the words contained within "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" may be hard to take, but it was written about a time in which these words and thought

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processes were accepted. I believe Kaye to be one that feels as though "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is considered racists by the way that it is taught inside the classroom. I do see where students, if the history has not been taught, would see this novel to be written by a racist. With the insecurities of the

African American community and the shame of the white ancestry, Kaye feels as though she can see how one would consider Twain to be racist. She feels as though the writing, if not explained correctly, could uncover harsh feelings in the world around us. The issue that needs to be handled is one of racial terms being taught inside of the class room. It is a harsh world, and I feel as though parents should be the first to explain our country's history, and how we as Americans can get over these conflicting issues.

I believe that Twain felt as though every citizens of this country should be awaken to reality in itself. Many people felt this, and Karen Sloan was one of those people. Karen Sloan thought of Twain as one who explored racism soon after the civil war unlike many other contemporary authors. She felt as though Twain had concealed messages that caused an uproar. Sloan thinks that Huck has just confided to his readers that Jim "was right, he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head for a nigger" (93). Sloan also states that "Huck, however, who is white and whom the courts have protected in the past, decides "you can't learn a nigger to argue" (98), and the two reach a problem that is never resolved." Sloan states also, " In December 1885, Twain wrote to the president of Yale University, "We have ground the manhood out of them ['the other color'], and the shame is ours, not theirs,


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