Twains Influence Of A Racist Society

1648 words - 7 pages

Craver 1Grant CraverMrs. Dr. RoweEnglish 11-Purple10 May 2014Twains Influence of a Racist SocietyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain in 1885, is a work of great American literature. Written as the sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn carries on with the life and trials of Huckleberry Finn. Through satire, Mark Twain presents different views on human issues, such as racism. Huck Finn, a 14 year old boy, runs away from his cruel father Pap and, in essence, civilization. He teams up with a runaway slave named Jim as they both run for freedom to the north. They grow and learn together on their journey along the Mississippi River as they encounter obstacles that stand in their way to freedom. Mark Twain uses these characters to represent his beliefs about many different subjects that were prevalent at the time. With the use of satire and critique, Twain writes this novel to promote change in society's views on racism altogether.The book takes place before the civil war in1860. Jim, a slave, becomes the travelling companion and cohort of the main character, Huck Finn. Originally owned by Huck's Tutor, Mrs. Watson, Jim flees slavery to avoid being parted from his family through the slave trade. When first introduced at the beginning of the book, Jim is portrayed as a stereotypical slave at the time. The Mississippi Quarterly believes that this helped to expand the character of Jim in this book. "Twain fitted Jim into the outlines of the minstrel tradition, and it is from behind this stereotypical mask [that] we see Jim's dignity and human capacity--and Twain's complexity--emerge" (Godden). The fact that Jim is underestimated within the confines of this stereotype only emphasizes his impeccably positive qualities. These qualities help Twain establish an argument against the deceitful views of people against African-Americans at this time. Jim is very superstitious which, initially, leads the reader to think less of him. Huck was especially thrown off by this and originally judged Jim as dumb and illiterate. "Jim had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it. He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed everything" (pg. 16). Jim's character thwarts these stereotypes as his caring and respectful personality shines through on his journey to freedom with Huck.Huck and Jim first encounter each other on Jackson's island. Running away from his abusive father, Huck finds a canoe and paddles to the Island only to happen upon Jim, a runaway slave. When they escape to find their freedom, Huck hides Jim in the bottom of the canoe on their travels, to keep him safe. Huck treats Jim as a dumb slave and acts superior to him, but Jim grows to care for Huck. One hazy night, Huck goes out in the canoe alone and gets lost. Jim becomes worried about Huck and fears something bad might have happened. Not able to do much but hope, Jim falls asleep only to...

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