It is amazing that a book over 150 years old can cause such controversy. Written by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel about a young boy named Huck and his adventure down the Mississippi River. Today, many critics and scholars argue over this novel trying to defend their perspectives on it being racist. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is not a racist novel because of the time it was written in, Twain’s use of satire, and the development of Huck’s character.
Huckleberry Finn is not racist because of the time period it was in. Huckleberry Finn was published in 1884 and during that time, slavery was a huge conflict within our country. It’s quite difficult to judge a novel of being racist when it was written over 150 years ago. In the late 1800s, the language Twain uses us an accurate reflection of that era (Pitts). Pitts is saying that nigger was a common word used back then, and Twain uses that word for a reason. The word nigger can be very rude and hurtful to many people, but there is a reason Twain uses that word 219 times within this novel (Moore). Twain’s purpose of the word was not to hurt the readers’ feelings, but to get his point across. Since it was written shortly after the Civil War, it is obvious that Twain uses his writings to express his beliefs and feelings toward the topic (Chadwick). According to Leonard Pitts, “Any work of art represents a series of conscious choices on the part of the artist- what color to paint, what note to play, what word to use- in that artist’s attempt to share what is in his or her soul.” Pitts is saying that it was Twain’s choice to use that word and that nobody could take that right away from him.
Twain’s use of satire th...
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...was not quick to judge and was often expressive about his feelings and opinions. Jim was always looking out for himself and for Huck. He was loyal towards their friendship and concerned about both their well beings. By taking a step back and examining the novel as a whole, it is easy to recognize that how Jim was treated does not make the novel racist.
In conclusion, Huckleberry Finn is not racist. The period it was written in gives the novel better background knowledge. The past can not be changed; it can only be accepted. Slavery was a real thing in our country and we can not change that. The novel is not racist for the word nigger, because as it has been pointed out previously, it was a word that people really did use and it is historically correct to use. Twain’s use of satire and the development of Huck’s character are two other reasons why it is not racist.
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