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Mark Twain

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The highly controversial book written by Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn proved to be a stepping stone for the racial segregation between whites and blacks that revealed a human side of the black man. Many critics argued that the novel portrayed a negative image on Jim and the constant use of the word “nigger” proved to be racist. Modern people have to understand that Twain’s depiction of Jim coincides with the culture of the time. At the completion of the novel, blacks were granted citizenship, the civil war was over, and yet one major problem still existed. The Jim Crow Laws proved to be another proverbial line separating whites and blacks. Within the context of this historical period, Twain penned Jim, stereotyping him in the “minstrel tradition,” with Negro slave dialect and a mind imbued with superstition (Ellison 422). Others have argued that although Twain painted a negative image of Jim at the beginning, the humanity and sensitivity of Jim manifests itself through the course of the novel. The first revelation of Jim’s humanity in the novel was when Huck had plays a trick on Jim and Jim’s tells Huck that he is no better than a pile of trash. Huck is surprised at Jim’s capacity to possess such strong, “human” feelings ( ). Another example of Jim’s humanity is represented when Jim begins to mourn for his family and feels lonesome from his separation from them. More patterns of Jim’s emotions are revealed from his touching story about his remorse towards his daughter after beating her and then realizing that she was deaf and could not hear him in order to obey to his instructions. A further view of Jim’s humanity is his submissiveness to Tom’s plan requiring Jim to commit many demeaning acts, but his compliance towards these acts shows him as a character obtaining full integrity. Yet, Jim’s actions were “more apparent when he offers the ultimate sacrifice--his freedom--to save Tom’s life.” ( ) Although Twain’s depiction of Jim’s character seemed very stereotypical of a black man, and considered degrading by some critics, Twain provided a contrast to the racial stigma with the manifestation of pure human emotions that is embedded in everyone.

My initial conclusion upon the completion of this novel was about a boy’s growth and understanding of societal hypocrisy, such as, slavery and religion. From my recent reading of the article written by Leslie Gregory, my conclusion has evolved. The novel not only portrays a coming-of-age story of



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