The Importance Of Friendship In Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

816 words - 3 pages

The Importance of Friendship in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Aristotle was once asked what he thought friendship was. His response was, "One soul inhabiting two bodies." This was the kind of relationship that Huckleberry Finn and Jim shared in Mark Twain's epic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel is a tool that Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemmons, was using to impress the great benefits of friendship upon society. However, others feel that Clemmons was using this book for another motive, to promote racism and ever since The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, there have been people trying to ban it from public bookshelves and trying to remove it from required reading lists, alleging that it promoted racism. This was not Mark Twain's motive; rather, he was trying to show how the prejudices that society places upon people could be overcome by friendship.

Mark Twain's novel has caused much controversy from the beginning. In 1885, the year the book was published, the Concord, Massachusetts Public Library banned the book and described it as "trash and suitable only for the slums" (Haight 1). Other than saying that the book was trash, the library did not express any reason for the book's banning, but it can be assumed that the reason was racism. The complaints did not end there: in New York City, seventy-two years later, Twain's publication found itself "dropped from a list of approved books for senior and junior high schools, partly because of objection to frequent use of the term 'nigger' and famed character 'Nigger Jim,'" (2). The statement from New York showed from where the popular misconception of Twain's intent comes; the usage of the word, "nigger." Although the word was used 213 times throughout Huck and Jim's adventure, it was not used in a derogatory way, but merely was part of a Southerner's everyday vocabulary during the nineteenth century of which Twain was trying to paint a picture (Phan 1). Despite Twain's theme on the power of friendship to overcome one of mankind's most terrible flaws, the American Library Association found The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to be the sixth most frequently challenged book of 1997 (ALA 4). That is an extremely high ranking when you consider the number of books that are in out nation. While the allegations of racism are true, Mark Twain was using his novel to show how friendship...

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