Cool Guys Do Stuff Essay

1274 words - 6 pages

The sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, focuses on the journey of Huck, the friend of Tom, as he travels the South with an escaped slave, Jim. Throughout the novel, racism and classism appear as intertwined themes of his journey. Slavery was commonplace in the antebellum South, when the story takes place, but the book beautifully illustrates how even the people who couldn't afford slaves could be the harshest to the imprisoned. Huck's father, deemed Pap, exemplifies the deleterious effects of the white social classism in the South. Being lowest of the low, Pap turns to abuse the blacks, the only people lower than him in terms of rank. This abuse turns into pure hatred; "And to see the cool way of that nigger -- why, he wouldn't a give me the road if I hadn't shoved him out o' the way"(Twain 36-37). Huck learns racism from his father but develops his own moral identity throughout his journey with Jim. Mark Twain uses Huck’s adventures and moral development to depict a maturing nation, evolving from a slave holding society but still full of racism and classism which Twain is not confident it can overcome.
Huck begins his journey escaping from an unfortunate situation. As the nation is building tension which will surmount in a civil war two decades later, Huck is an orphan living with a strict Christian named Widow Douglas. Huck cannot be "sivilized" and the widow is not hopeful about Huck's future. Huck's early life had been outdoors focused so he had become accustomed to that sort of learning instead of the traditional classroom setting. Suddenly, Huck's father reappears in his life to claim the six thousand dollars that Huck had found with Tom. Huck escapes the widow to live with his father with whom he initially feels comfortable. However, after being locked up and beaten, much like a slave himself, Huck realizes that he has to run away from his father for his own safety. Knowing that his father will not listen to the voice of reason, Huck takes the extreme route and fakes his own death with the blood of a pig. Without much education, Huck proves that he has the ability to be cunning and ingenious. Being constrained by his father connected Huck to the life of a slave, yet he did not realize the injustice of the concept of slavery. Although he is free of his physical bonds, Huck's mind has been altered by his time with his father just like America being irreversibly distorted by its history of slavery.
Huck's journey into maturity progresses with Jim throughout the novel. At the beginning of the journey, both Huck and Jim are runaway slaves. Jim is literally a runaway slave from the Widow Douglas. Huck is a slave to his father, his father’s teachings and his class. The young white boy and the older black man are connected through their lack of important figures in their lives. They bond almost instantly because they have no connections to family members or important figures. These bonds, however...

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