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Social Intolerance in Huckleberry Finn

The entire plot of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is rooted in intolerance between different social groups. Without prejudice and intolerance, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would not have any of the antagonism or intercourse that makes the recital interesting. The prejudice and intolerance found in the book are the characteristics that make The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn great.

The author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is Mark Twain. Even in the opening paragraph of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Clemens states, “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”

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There were many groups that were contrasted in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The interaction of these different social groups is what makes up the main plot of the novel. For the objective of discussion they have been broken down into five main sets of antithetic parties: people with high levels of melanin and people with low levels of melanin, rednecks and scholarly, children and adults, men and women, and finally, the Sheperdson’s and the Grangerford’s.

Whites and African Americans are the main two groups contrasted in the novel. Throughout the novel, Clemens portrays Caucasians as a more educated group that is higher in society compared to the African Americans portrayed in the novel. The cardinal way that Clemens portrays African Americans as obsequious is through the colloquy that he assigns them. Their dialogue is composed of nothing but broken English.

One example in the novel is this excerpt from the conversation between Jim the fugitive slave, and Huckleberry about why Jim ran away, where Jim declares, “Well you see, it ‘uz dis way. Ole missus-dat’s Miss Watson-she pecks on me all de time, en treats me pooty rough, but she awluz said she wouldn’t sell me down to Orleans.” Although this is the phonetic spelling of how some African Americans from the boondocks used to talk, Clemens only applied the argot to Blacks and not to Whites throughout the novel. There is not one sentence in the treatise spoken by an African American that is not comprised of broken English. But in spite of that, the broken English does add an entraining piece of culture to the milieu.

The second way Clemens differentiates people in the novel of different skin colours is that all Blacks in the book are portrayed as stupid and uneducated. The most blatant example is where the African American character Jim is kept prisoner for weeks while he is a dupe in a childish game that Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn play with him. Clemens spends the last three chapters in the novel to tell the tale of how Tom Sawyer maliciously lets Jim, who known only unto Tom is really a free man, be kept prisoner in a shack while Tom torments Jim with musings about freedom and infests his living space with rats, snakes, and spiders. At the end of this charade, Tom even admits, “Why, I wanted the adventure of it……”

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Social Intolerance in Huckleberry Finn. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved July 10, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/social-intolerance-in-huckleberry-finn/