Slavery and Racism in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is absolutely relating a message to readers about the ills of slavery but this is a complex matter. On the one hand, the only truly good and reliable character is Jim who, a slave, is subhuman. Also, twain wrote this book after slavery had been abolished, therefore, the fact that is significant. There are still several traces of some degree of racism in the novel, including the use of the n word and his tendency to paint Jim in some ways that fit the stereotype of a slave despite these issues, for this essay on Huck Finn, argue that the character of Jim as the only righteous and honest character in a sea of white characters who are all greatly flawed proves that Twain wanted to show that despite the civilizen nature of white society, it is not perfect and slavery, which denies human rights, is a hypocritical institution.
As Andrew Solomon from the University of Pittsburgh said Out of this discouraging portrait of humanity, however, some few people can survive, though with difficulty, and the most endearing character to do so, of course, is Huck.6 Huck Finn, as we see him at the dawn of his adolescence,7 is basically simple and direct in nature. Huck tells the Dumas-inspired Tom Sawyer, for example, “”When I start in to steal a nigger, or a watermelon, or a Sunday-school book, I ain’t no ways particular how it’s done so it’s done”” (p. 206). The idea of race in this novel is very nocolant. It appears as if nothing is wrong with it, and in the day and age this was written, it is understandable that it didn’t faze anyone at the time. A true point to drive home what Solomon said would be “”Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?”” (p. 91) Jim can’t believe that people speak different languages all over the world, since we’re all the same. But if we’re all the same, why are some of us enslaved? And why doesn’t he seem to make that conceptual leap? As Jim tries to help Huck understand this, Huck is also trying to make Jim understand the concept that we are not all the ame and that some of us are much different than others.
As we continue to read throughout the novel, we notice that although Huck does not see a problem with slavery, he also doesn’t want to lose Jim to it. This shows when You see, when we left him all alone we had to tie him, because if anybody happened on him all by and himself and not tied, it wouldn’t look much like he was a runaway nigger, you know. (p. 169), this is important because of what it leads up to. When Huck, the Duke, and the King think of a way to make sure that Jim doesn’t have to be tied up it is a statement to the fact that Huck has started to form a relationship with Jim and wants to make sure that he is okay while they are away. The fact that this is important to Huck is a big deal, that even though they still treat him like a slave, there is some sort of comandiere in the way they interact.
The racism aspect of this novel is important because they teach us of a different time period. They explain to us through a unique way of teaching that this was considered acceptable in the way of the world. When Huck and Buck interact without Jim, it is as good a reference point as any because, Buck’s family had slaves. They had enough slaves that they were able to give one to Huck while he stayed with them. This is a good example because Huck notices the way that they are treated and doesn’t find it right. Which is a huge step for Huck as a growing, maturing teen.
When Jim is brought into the book we first imagine him as a dumb, uneducated piece of property, who was referred to us as a slave. As we move on throughout the novel, we learn that this is not only a facade but a way for Jim to cope with cards he was dealt that he called life. Slavery places Jim under the control of white society, no matter how wrong and inconceivable, white society may be, along with the preposterous racism that arose near the end of this time period.
Therefore in writing the novel, Mark Twain showed the growth of a part of white society that slaves were not property but human. Twain used Huck’s environment, teachings, and beliefs at the beginning of the novel as pro-slavery. Then used Jim as a tool to allow Huck to see the wrongful treatment of slaves that Huck realizes that Jim as a slave was a better person than his father other white people that were ranked higher in society. Then by the end of the novel Twain shows Huck willing to give up his status in society for someone he wouldn’t have given a second thought to, is now willing to give up life as he knew it.