Huckleberry Finn- Racist Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn depicts how he is a racist. He shows it in many ways in which his characters act. All of the people in the towns are slave owners, and treat black slaves with disrespect. In the time period of the novel slavery was not legal, but racism was. Many scenes in his novel make slaves look like fools.
The largest debate as to why the novel is a racist work is because of the use of the "N-word." Although there is an abundance of evidence pointing towards the theory that Mark Twain was a racist, therefore making the book itself a reflection of his ideologies, Huckleberry Finn is created as a form of social commentary, on the racism of the time period. As reflected in the essays in Satire or Evasion?, the perspectives on the views of racism in Huckleberry Finn vary widely (Arac 113) and it can be concluded that “there is no single ‘black’ position on Huckleberry Finn any more than there is a monolithic white one” (Leonard
Critics who claim the novel is racist mainly argue that the depiction of a character, Jim, is drawn up to be negative. This assumption derives from Twain’s profound use of the word “n****”. At the time the novel was being written, the usage of this word was very common towards slaves and blacks. Even though this word is used countless times through the novel, Twains reason behind using the word was not to identify any characters with negative traits, but to satirize the users of the word and knowledge of white superiority with racism. He satirizes and explores the ignorance of Southern and religious whites.
Fishkin, Shelley Fisher, Phd. "Teaching Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", 1995, July Summer Teachers Institute, Hartford, Connecticut @1995 http://www.pbs.org/wgbn/cultureshorck/teachers/huck/essay.html Leavis, F.R. "Three New Approaches to Huckleberry Finn". (London: Chatto and Windus, Ltd., 1955) Rpt. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Ed.
Challenge to Slavery Adventures of Huckleberry Finn In recent years, there has been increasing discussion of the seemingly racist ideas expressed by Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn. In some extreme cases the novel has even been banned by public school systems and censored by public libraries. The basis for these censorship campaigns 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.
When published, the novel received a lot of criticism for Twain’s implicit moral message; the novel is Twain’s indictment against racism. Throughout the years, Huck Finn’s message has been misinterpreted as racist. In fact, according to John H. Wallace the narrative is “racist trash” (112), mainly because of the word “nigger” (Twain 7), which is used more than two hundred times. Never-theless, most anti-Huck critics fail to understand the elemental use of the word. Twain intends to unveil the South’s reality; therefore, the absence of the word “nigger” would result in the erroneous portrayal of how a twelve-year-old, uneducated boy from Missouri would talk.
San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1994: 105-110. Martin, Jay. “American Civilization threatens to Destroy Huck.” Harvest of Change: American Literature, 1865- 1914(1967): Rpt. In Readings on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ed.
In the politically correct 1990’s however, the point of argument has now shifted to one of the major themes of the book: Racism. John Wallace once said of the book, “It’s the most grotesque version of racist trash” ever written. Were Twain’s archetypal characters and use of vernacular language an assertion of his own racist views, or a critique of the injustice of White society? Many readers misinterpret racist remarks by characters in the novel as reflections of Twain’s own beliefs supporting slavery. These claims, though, can be easily repudiated by some of Twain’s comparisons between whites and blacks made outside of Huck Finn; for instance when he said, “One of my theories is that the hearts of men are all alike, all over the world, whatever their skin complexion may be”.
Huckleberry Finn remains one of the greatest classics of American Literature and although it is highly controversial due to racism, I do not find it to be a racist novel. As we look into the issues of racism in Huckleberry Finn we must first look at the time and setting of this book. Twain wrote this book before the Civil War and during slavery when black people were known as property rather than people. Twain displays the truth about slavery, including issues that surround it such as runaway slaves like Jim. There were many slaves that escaped by running away and a countless amount that attempted to run away due to their harsh living conditions.
/05/2016 Racism, a major issue in society for hundreds of years, even after the abolition of slavery, still affects millions of people. African Americans today still sensitivities towards racism, and the reading of Huckleberry Finn demonstrates the pertinence of racism today similarly to two hundred years ago. When reading novels containing nineteenth century racism, African American readers are exposed to the torments their ancestors were put through, and the novel can have a positive or negative effect in that the reader may enjoy the learning of their history but may also feel humiliated in relation to their classmates of other races. In the literary novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, the apparent racism in the book affects