Racial Discrimination In Huck Finn Essay

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The controversy on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been apparent since its publication two decades after the Civil War. Although the Emancipation Proclamation outlawed slavery, during this time period, Southerners enacted racist laws or polices under a professed motive of self-defense which still dismays many hearts today. The argument on slavery and the way blacks were treated now sparks controversy in the classroom. Although Julius Lester's arguments are legitimate, the usefulness of the novel, in the field of education, overpowers whatever sensitivities are felt.

Julius Lester believes that morality and literature are inseparable and that Huck Finn is not a moral novel. In his essay, "Morality and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" he states, "Twain makes an odious parallel between Huck's being `enslaved' by a drunken father […] and Jim's legal enslavement" (342). Lester states that although it is wrong to physically trap your kin, it is not to be discussed parallel to enslavement. Lester criticizes the fact that Twain even thought about making this comparison. Yet where a reader in this era can overlook the moral illogicality of giving man custody of another man, the mirroring of this situation in the conceding of rights to the corrupt Pap over the endearing Huck makes the reader to think more directly about the implication of slavery. When addressing Jim running towards freedom - which he already has - Lester states, "There is no honor here; there is no feeling for or sense of what Gardner calls that which `is necessary to humanness'. Jim is a plaything" (345). Tom Sawyer just used Jim. Tom wanted an adventure and freeing Jim was a great one. In this way, Twain devalues the lives of slaves. It is in these ways that Lester denounces Huck...

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