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Mark Twain Uses Jim To Express His Views About Slavery About The Book Huckeberry Finn By Mark Twain

1274 words - 6 pages

Huckleberry Finn is a classic novel, bursting with countless plots, characters, hidden ideas, and one incredible friendship that outlast all of society's critical ideas. Controversy swirls around Jim, one of the primary characters in the novel. He and Huck become the best of friends, defying convention as Jim is black, and Huck is white. Concealed inside this novel are Twain's very own thoughts about societies during the 1800's when he wrote Huckleberry Finn. In doing this, Twain hoped to show his readers how badly African Americans were being treated and some of the hardships they had to endure simply because of their color. Overall, Mark Twain used Huckleberry Finn as a literary vehicle to ...view middle of the document...

..Jim in short, exhibits all the qualities that "the Negro" supposedly lacks." (Smith 365)Twain satirically used Huckleberry Finn to show how other characters in the story were racist toward African Americans. In doing so, Twain did not want the reader to acquire a racist feeling; rather he wants them to understand how the African Americans were mistreated by the white upper class. In a conversation about a steamboat explosion between Huck and Aunt Sally, she asked him: "Good gracious! Anybody hurt?" Huck replies "No'm. Killed a nigger" Then Aunt Sally answers "Well it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt." (Twain 336) This conversation was exposing the unsettling truths about the old south; that the general society did not consider the fatality of a black person worthy of their attention. Further, "Huck's offhand remark is indented to exploit Aunt Sally's attitudes, not to express his own." (Smith 365)Although Mark Twain's primary theme was the anti slavery issue, he also addressed other equally important matters such as views on social class and how blacks were viewed in comparison to whites. "Jim is no murderer; Jim is no rapist; Jim is not a thief. He is no gangsta, nor is he gullible and stupid. Jim is nobody's fool. He endures, and he overcomes." (Chadwick - Joshua xiii) In the book, Twain portrayed Jim as a fine man who had many excellent qualities. Contrary to Jim, the free white men in Huckleberry Finn were purposely developed and presented to show that, just because Jim was a black slave, he could still be more honest and true than a white man. For example, the Duke and the King, two men Huck and Jim took on their raft, pretend to be Peter Wilk's long lost brothers and claim that he left his England estate to them. Near the end of the book, the Duke and the King were tarred and feathered for their cons and extremely bad plays. This illustration of white men being awful, untruthful people gave Jim's temperament a superior position over the white characters due to his ingenuous and genuine disposition. To the reader, it seems as if Jim was the only one not making foolish decisions based on wicked desires. In making this obvious point, Twain was proving his quote: "Nearly all black and brown skins are beautiful, but a beautiful white skin is rare." (Salwen 1)In addition to making Jim look superior to...

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