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Prejudice and Racism in Huckleberry Finn

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Huckleberry Finn: The Immorality of Racism

A majority of people in American society believe that school systems must teach children that racism is morally wrong. Often, however, tension has builds over how to teach this important lesson. Unfortunately, a controversy has built over the teaching of Huckleberry Finn. Although some believe that Mark Twains' novel perpetuates racist feelings, in fact Twain uses the characters to demonstrate the immorality of slavery. Miss Watson and Pap, the reprehensible objects of Twains' satire, demonstrate the racist views that society takes towards slaves. The slave Jim, who may appear stereotypically ignorant, in reality represents the true goodness and humanity which society impedes upon with its racist views. Huck shares the racist views about slaves until his friendship with Jim teaches him what Twain, himself, believes: that those society refers to as "niggers" deserve to be perceived as intelligent and honorable individuals. Huckleberry Finn should be incorporated into the curriculum of school systems because it is imperative that teachers instill the immorality of racism into the youth they teach.

Most believe that Twain uses satire to portray the immorality of racism, however some assume that the common slanders in Huckleberry Finn are used to portray that Twain is a racist himself. It is also a common argument that the book should not be taught to students of certain ethnicities due to the harsh language Twain uses. Due to the fact that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a children's book and prequel to Huckleberry Finn, many children may inadvertently pick up Huckleberry Finn believing that it is also a children's book. Twain, however did fail to ...

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... racism is immoral. Huckleberry Finn proves a statement that T.S. Elliot suggests, that Huck, "Has not imagination in the sense that Tom Sawyer has it: he has instead, vision. He sees the real world; and he does not judge it- he allows it to judge itself" (349). This quote also portrays Twain's point of view, one similar to that of Huck, which may lead one to think that Huck's character is taken from Twain's.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 3rd ed. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: Norton, 1999.

Eliot, T.S. "Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By Mark Twain. 3rd ed. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: Norton, 1999. 348-354.

Morrison, Toni. "This Amazing, Troubling Book". Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By Mark Twain. 3rd ed. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: Norton, 1999. 385-392.
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