The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is an excellent
example of racism in literature, because it uses language describing
African Americans which goes beyond satire. It treats them as objects and
perpetuates stereotypes. It does not expose and deal with racism, as many
advocates of its reading claim, but encourages an attitude of superiority
that is unnecessary and intolerable. In order to rid ourselves from this
racism, African American literature should be read more often in classrooms
throughout the United States. Anything less will simply perpetuate racism.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines racism as "the belief that
some races are inherently better than others." Mark Twain holds this belief,
and his writing illustrates it. The use of the word "nigger" does not
merely serve as a point of satire. He is not simply ridiculing the times by
using it, but saying, "this is how it is." He conveys the idea that whites
are superior to blacks in different ways. While he might criticize white
people's actions, he never lumps them together, attributing similar
characteristics to all of them by the use of a term like "nigger." By doing
this, he is also offending about 15% of the United States population. Every
character in the book is racist, even Huckleberry himself. With such lines
as: "Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped run away, coming
right out flatfooted and saying he would steal his children-children that
belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever done me no
harm"(Twain, P133), he illustrates this.
... middle of paper ...
...ulley Bradley, et al. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1977. 421-22.
Hoffman, Daniel. "Black Magic--and White--in Huckleberry Finn." Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An Authoritative Text Backgrounds and Sources Criticism. Ed. Sculley Bradley, et al. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1977. 423-436.
Jones, Rhett S. "Nigger and Knowledge. White Double-Consciousness in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Satire or Evasion? Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn. Ed. James Leonard, et al. Durham: Duke UP, 1992. 173-194.
Kaplan, Justin. "Born to Trouble: One Hundred Years of Huckleberry Finn." Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Case Study in Critical Controversy. Eds. Gerald Graff and James Phelan. Boston: St. Martin's, 1995. 348-359.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, London: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999
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