Racism In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
In recent years, there has been increasing discussion ofthe seemingly racist ideas expressed by Mark Twain inHuckleberry Finn.
The basis for these has been the depiction of one of the main characters in Huckleberry Finn, Jim, a black slave. Jim, is a "typical"
black slave who runs away from his "owner" Miss Watson. At
several points in the novel, Jim's character is described
to the reader, and some people have looked upon the
characterization as racist. However, before one begins to
censor a novel it is important to separate the ideas of the
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Jim and the millions of other slaves in the South
were not permitted any formal education, were never allowed
any independent thought and were constantly maltreated and
abused. Twain is merely portraying by way of Jim, a very
realistic slave raised in the South during that time
period. To say that Twain is racist because of his desire
for historical accuracy is absurd.
Despite the few incidences in which Jim's description might
be misconstrued as racist, there are many points in the
novel where Twain through Huck, voices his extreme
opposition to the slave trade and racism. In chapter six,
Huck's father fervently objects to the governments granting
of suffrage to an educated black professor. Twain wants the
reader to see the absurdity in this statement. Huck's
father believes that he is superior to this black professor
simply because of the color of his skin. In Chapter 15 the
reader is told of an incident which contradicts the
original "childlike" description of Jim. In chapter 15 the
reader is presented with a very caring and father-like Jim
who becomes very worried when he loses his best friend Huck
in a deep fog. Twain is pointing out the connection which
has been made between Huck and Jim. A connection which...