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Racism In The Adventures Of Huck Finn

1675 words - 7 pages

Throughout life, one may encounter a multifaceted complexity in which two opposing sides attempt to determine its meaning, as they endlessly debate their views. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, strattles the line between a classic novel and a racist story, leading many to debate its true roots. Twains recurrent use of the "N" word, in addition to his, questionable, inhumanity towards the Negro race, lead many to believe that the book was developed upon racist roots. Throughout the book, Mark Twain develops Jim, a slave character, into a kind compassionate human being, who is willing to sacrifice his freedom to help a friend in need. In addition, Twain allows Jim to think clearer than the free men around him. Also, Twain uses satire to criticize the inhumane treatment given to past day African Americans. Because Twain creates the character of Jim, a slave, as a kind, compassionate, clear thinking individual, who is eventually freed at the end, it is evident that this book is not racist.Because of Twain's frequent use of the "N" word, in addition to the stereotypical views of blacks and the inhumanity towards them, some depict this book as racist. First, critics agree that Twain consistently uses the "N" word, making the novel appear to be racist and offensive. Wallace argues that because the "N" word literally means "member of any dark-skinned race of people and is offensive," many African Americans who read this book could take offense and therefore declare the novel racist (Wallace 17). In succession, many Caucasians, still ashamed of what their ancestors had done to Africans in the slave times, feel that it is also their place to take offense for African Americans, declaring it a racist novel as well. Some critics believe that Twain creates Jim, a slave, as a piece of property that could be sold and bought. Smiley argues that when the two Mississippi River bandits, traveling with Jim, become short on cash, and "betray Jim by selling him for forty dollars," African Americans are depicted as others" property (Smiley 63). Some people then conclude that Twain believes that there is nothing wrong with human as other's property. Wallace, again, believes that Twain depicts African Americans as inhuman objects, not even worth grieving over. When asked if any injuries had resulted from the recent Steamboat accident, Huck, pretending to be Tom, states that nobody had been hurt however it had "killed a 'N'" (Wallace 21). Many critics think that Twain is referring that African Americans are not human, rather objects. Twains consistent use of the "N" word in addition to his inhuman depiction of African Americans, leads many to criticize the novel as racist.Throughout the book, Mark Twain develops Jim, a slave character, into a kind compassionate human being, who even sacrifices his own freedom to help a friend. Jim expresses utmost compassion towards his wife and kids, Hoping to one day rejoin them. Along the Mississippi River, Jim...

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