- Term Papers and Free Essays

Huck Finn

Essay by   •  October 6, 2010  •  954 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,694 Views

Essay Preview: Huck Finn

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the greatest, most daring novels in the world. Mark Twain's style helps to realistically portray early America. Mark Twain tells the story through the voice of Huck, the very kindhearted main character. Everything that Huck says reflects the racism and black stereotypes typical of the era. This has lead to many conflicts from readers since the novel was first printed. However, the story has inspired some. James W. Tuttleton says in an article he wrote that "Huck Finn is regularly denounced as racist trash" (The San Francisco Chronicle [1885] 6) . Yet, again to oppose that is a quote by a reader, "Anyone who is offended by this book is obviously ignorant of the true purpose of this book (which does not show slavery to be right, I might add) and perhaps should find out a little more about it than what OTHERS have told them." (Soapbox [Shumway.2000] ). The author does use the word 'nigger' a lot, he says it to the slave Jim and also to any other blacks that he sees as insulting or of


poor standard. Huckleberry Finn still stands as a powerful representation of experience through the brand new eyes of an innocent boy. The only way Huck knows to treat the African American culture is the way he was taught and raised. This is how he treats the African Americans in the story. Twain's literary style in capturing the novel, Huck's casual attitude and truthful position, and Jim's absolute acceptance of the oppression by the names all signify this.

Twain uses southern dialect but he does not blatantly degrade the Negro society. If the author wished-for the story to be racist, he would not write about the way Huck felt towards Jim. "He [Twain] tried to evince the beauty of Huck and Jim's friendship by sealing it in flawed and humble English." ( Race Traitor [D'Andrea 1992]). It is seen some throughout the book that Huck sees Jim as a white man. Huck tells the reader this when he realizes that Jim misses his own family and children, "I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their'n" (150). Any words that seem to humiliate African-Americans is simply a casual use of Southern slang and not purposeful. Huck talks the way he was taught according to the culture then to stylize a specific behavior toward black slaves. However, his feelings toward Jim throughout the novel has taught Huck to conquer certain stereotypes, such as black stupidity and apathy. Huckleberry still


believes Jim to be inappropriate and stubborn at times, as in their exchange over the Biblical story of King Solomon and the French language. Huck doesn't tell Jim but says to the reader," If he got a notion in his head once, there warn't no getting it out again...I see it warn't no use wasting words - you can't learn a nigger to argue" (76-79).

Twain uses his main character, Huckleberry Finn, to convey his literary style and therefore makes it important to think about this character. The San Francisco Bulletin says that "The author turns his knowledge of Western dialects to account."( San Francisco Evening Bulletin [unsigned 1885]). The reader will observe that Huck acts based on his own ethics. Despite the Widow Douglas's and Miss Watson's attempt to civilize Huck by teaching, sheltering, and instructing him on how to behave, Huck's actions throughout the novel do not always reflect their teachings. The character has a restricted viewpoint and his outlook in life is truthful, having no propagandist suggestions. Huck does not advocate slavery nor



Download as:   txt (5.4 Kb)   pdf (84.7 Kb)   docx (10.9 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on