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Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain Essay

2802 words - 11 pages

Huckleberry Finn is one of the most controversial novels in history. It is the fifth most challenged book in United States history (About Mark Twain). It tells the tale of a young boy and a slave who venture across the Mississippi river. At the time, this was considered immoral and unheard of. The author of this story is Mark Twain. Twain was born as Samuel Clemens, but later, after he began writing, he took on the pen name of Mark Twain. This name signifies the borderline between acceptable and not acceptable- as shown in his writing. Twain had three punctilious messages in his novel. Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn to express his disillusionment of society through the eyes of a young farm boy who realized that senseless violence, racism, and slavery all expressed how cruel and corrupt people could be.
Samuel Clemens grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. There, he experienced an adventurous childhood that greatly influenced several of his stories. The town of Hannibal however, was not all it seemed to be, for Samuel experienced death and violence at an early age. When he was 9 years old, he saw a local man murder a cattle rancher, and at 10 he saw a slave die after a white overseer struck him with a piece of iron (Mark Twain Biography). Next, after he married, he travelled frequently across the country. In his travels, he experienced slavery, and racism first hand. This greatly affected him and he fought against it with the publication of Huckleberry Finn. In 1858, he became a licensed riverboat pilot (About Mark Twain). This experience allowed him to explore the Mississippi River, which played a large role in developing the novel. Twain clearly shows his social criticisms in this novel using satire.
Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, shortly after the Civil War. The novel takes place shortly before the war. At the time, dissension over slavery was at the cusp of erupting into war. Some of the causes of this included the Dred Scott Decision. “The famous Dred Scott Decision in 1857 denied his request, stating that no person with African blood could become a United States Citizen.” (Causes of the Civil War) For the South, agriculture was their economy. So, it was not easy for them to simply release their slaves. The North however, fought against slavery by eliciting the help of abolitionists. These men and women fought by giving speeches, writing books, and causing an overall bedlam over antislavery. In December 1833, William Lloyd Garrison and sixty other delegates of different race and origin met in Philadelphia to found the American Anti-Slavery Society (Abolitionist Movement). This society thought slavery to be immoral, and often advocated for equality. Eventually, the South split from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Finally, the Civil War began in earnest. Since it was a war for freedom, escaped slaves were allowed to fight with the Union to gain their independence. The South fought hard, but ultimately, the...

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