Slavery And Racism Shown In Huckleberry Finn

891 words - 4 pages

In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain establishes three very prominent themes. These themes include racism and slavery, intellectual and moral education, and the hypocrisy of civilized society. The most dominant theme, racism and slavery, is recognized when the main character feels that he is doing the wrong thing in helping a runaway slave. It is also recognized in the passage where the main character talks to a boy who compares a black slave’s worth to two-hundred dollars. Twain used the theme racism and slavery in an attempt to convince southerners to do the right thing despite what society dictates and to show the South that everyone should have equal rights. Racism and slavery is not only a central theme in the Twain’s novel, it is still alive and shown in the form of hate crimes performed by notorious racist groups.
The main character and narrator, Huck Finn, is a boy who has been raised in the southern United States prior to the Civil War. Racism and Slavery, which can be defined as the poor treatment of or violence against a people because of their race, is the source of a lot of turmoil for Huck (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism). Huck’s conscience is always being contorted emotionally because he feels he should follow the common racist ways that Southern society has taught him, but his best friend is a runaway slave. Torn in his racist ways that tell him that Jim, Miss Watson’s slave who Huck thinks should be turned in, he decides his friendship with Jim outweighs his racist beliefs, so he helps him keep from being caught. Jim, Huck’s companion as he travels down the river, is a man of remarkable intelligence and compassion. Huck chooses to defy his racist ways in the passage where he rips up the letter he was going to send to Miss Watson that contained where she could find Jim. Remembering the friendship and triumphs they shared, Huck says, “All right, then, I'll go to hell” (Twain, pg.205). This shows that Huck holds his racist ways so highly in his value system that he sees helping a slave as the equivalent of a sin that will send him to hell.
Twain also presents the theme when Huck is talking to a boy he passes on the road while trying to find Jim. The boy shows how racism is concretely instilled in the youth of the South. In the passage, the boy says, “Well, I RECKON! There's two hunderd dollars reward on him. It's like picking up money out'n the road.” (Twain, pg.203) This shows how horrible...

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