Problem of Racism in Mark Twain's Book

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Racism. The action of when one color/sex or race believes they are more powerful than another because of their color/sex or race. If you live in the U.S.A you would know about our rough past we shared with that ugly word and how much hatred is behind it. Do not be fooled, racism is still around today. You will not see it as heavily as they did in the early ages all the way to 1865 when slavery was banned due to the 13th Amendment.

Even though slavery was banned that never stopped the racist slurs people made and or said. In the book HuckleBerry Finn by Mark Twain, racism is a huge topic spread all throughout the book. This book was written in 1884, racism is very big at the time.When Mark Twain wrote this book a lot of people confused Twain to be a racist when in all reality racism was just a all around theme played through the whole book.

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The main character Huck is a white young boy who has had a bad childhood. Being brought up with a drunk father and going into foster care, huck became very adventurous and was always in the woods doing what boys do. Huck meets a runaway slave named Jim who wants to go down the Mississippi river to a town called Cairo to work, get money and see his wife. The question most people ask is “Is Huck a Racist? I believe Huck Finn is NOT a racist and here is why.

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First is a statement that huck says to himself. “It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn’t ever dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just see what a difference it made in him the minute he judged he was about free. It was according to the old saying, ‘Give a slave an inch and he’ll take an ell.’ Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking. Here was this slave, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children—children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know; a man that hadn’t ever done me no harm.” ( Twain 90) This shows that huck knows what he’s doing is wrong, helping a slave run away to save his family. Huck doesn’t let their skin colors get in the way of helping jim go down the river.Yes Huck does call Jim a ni**** in the book but I believe huck just doesn’t know that it is racist and that was the way things were back then. Blacks were called the N word and slaves like it was nothing in the past. Huck may say those 2 words in the book when talking to or about Jim but I do not think he says them to taunt Jim. I believe he doesn’t see Jim as a human being..Jim is a slave to him.

Second is a quote from Jim himself. “’Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on’y white genlman dat ever kep’ his promise to ole Jim’ ( Twain 16). At this point in the book Huck was thinking about turning Jim in for running away from his slave owner until Jim said these words to Huck. Which made huck feel super conscious and guilty for wanting to turn Jim in. With huck knowing that he is the only white folk to be accepting and put his color behind him and maybe seeing him as his friend, Huck feels as if he really can’t betray a new friend. This shows that Huck is not a racist because if he was he would have already turned Jim in and they would have never traveled down the river together. Some may say “ But he WAS going to turn him in any ways, which would make him a racist.” When really that does not make him a racist, that shows he was following the rules it was nothing against Jim in any way. Huck knew that Jim should have been on his property but he knew at heart he had to help his friend.

Third is a Line from Huck “ But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. ( Twain 23) This quote hits me the hardest when it comes to proving that Huck is not a racist because Huck is sitting there trying to think of ways to “ hardin” Jim from him and ways to turn Jim in for being a runaway slave but Hucks guilty conscience convinces him that Jim really needs his help and that Jim considers him his best friend and for being so open and wanting to actually help him get back to his family. Again you may say “ Huck really tried to turn in him in for being a runaway” In the end he didn’t but he could have but he knew deep down that Jim was his friend and that the color of his skin doesn’t matter.

From another point of view Huck does say some racist slurs and some hardcore words that does make him come off as a racist towards Jim. A quote from Huck that says “I want my ni****” (Twain 215) shows that Huck ONLY sees Jim as a slave and that he is property to him. Jim is not a human being he is a slave. At the same time I think that Huck just has no clue that he is saying the racist slurs and that calling Jim the N- word is bad because that is how he grew up. Back to the first paragraph Hucks childhood was not the best or the day to day life. He was very independent and practically grew up by himself. He was fostered into a home with Ms. Watson and a widow who just tried to force religion on him which he did not believe in which caused him not to like the widow or ms.Watson which is one of the reasons he left and ran away with Jim down the river. I believe if huck was a racist he would have never went on the trip with Jim and never would have became his friend. He definitely would have turned him in the first he knew he was a runaway slave but he didn’t,

In conclusion I believe the main character Huck Finn in the book HuckleBerry Finn by Mark Twain is in fact NOT a racist and that from my evidence provided in this essay that if Huck was a racist he would have never helped Jim to get to his family or even down the river. Huck knew deep down he was doing the right thing by not turning him in and not treating him like a slave or property, he treated him like a human being. They are now best friends ,making Huck friends with a slave which makes him a non racist.

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Problem of Racism in Mark Twain's Book. (2022, Jan 13). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/problem-of-racism-in-mark-twain-s-book-essay

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