The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is a controversial one. There are people who believe the book is racist due to the use of the word nigger, and some of the situations in the book. While others believe that it is the story of a black man, and a white boy coming to friendship, and is not racist at all. But if you take time to read this book through and through, then you will find that the book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is not racist.
This novel may have some scenes in it that seem like a racist situation. Such as the use of the word nigger. This word was used to address black people, it was not a derogatory term, but just another way of saying black. Over the years it may have changed and now has a different meaning, but during times of slavery, it did not mean anything but black. This novel was written in a time period where it would be the normal thing to treat blacks badly, and if the white people did not treat them with disrespect then society would look down upon them. Huck, who is a young white boy, who has run away with Jim, can relate to him, and actually helped him out. Which was not a normal characteristic of behaviour for whites towards blacks during this time period.
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At first, Huck had doubts about helping Jim to freedom with him, because he knew he would be in a lot of trouble if anybody caught him with Jim. You could have been punished for helping a black man escape from his owner, it was illegal, but Huck still helped Jim knowing the consequences. When Huck and Jim are about to embark on their journey together, Jim tells Huck he has run away. “People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum-but that don’t make no difference. I ain’t a-going to tell.” (50) This was a statement made by Huck, telling Jim that he would not tell on him for running away. If Huck Finn and this novel were truly racist, Jim would have been turned in right there and then. And Huck would have never even thought about helping him.
If The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were racist, it would not be a story about a white boy and a black man, relating with each other and sharing common interests. During the time where slavery was a common thing, white and black were as different as they sound. White was thought to be the superior race, and black the inferior. There was no possible way that these two races would ever think alike and share common goals. But if there is one point that this book gets across, it is that no matter how different from society you are, or how different from others, black or white, you can still show common interests. And we are all really the same. The main storyline is getting freedom from society, and that is the main goal of Huck and Jim, white and black. Not only do they share a view of freedom, but they also have a common view of society as well. Huck sees society in his drunkard father, and Jim sees society in Miss Watson. They are morally and socially corrupt people that both represent what the society was, and exactly what Jim and Huck needed to get away from. And if this novel was racist, it would not have been written that a white boy and black man share so many common interests and a view about a society that is the same. Racism is all about separating people from one another and making sure they are not the same. Not relating them to each other and pointing out how much they really are the same.
Most importantly Jim becomes free in the end. Although he really was free the entire time, Tom just did not tell them, he was regardless, free. If the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn really was racist, Jim would not have become a free man in the end. There are a million different things that could have happened to Jim, he could have been caught and hung, he could have been sold, but he was free. If the book was racist Jim’s fate would have ended up how society saw it was “right”, it definitely would not be a good outcome as it was. Near the end of the book Tom finds out that Jim has been locked up after all the good he had done him. “Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and his nostrils opening and shutting like gills, and sings out to me: ‘They hain’t no right to shut him up! Shove!-and don’t you lost a minute. Turn him loose! He ain’t no slave; he’s as free as any cretur that walks this earth!” This shows that Tom, a boy that grew up in a slave-holding household is even enraged about Jim being a Slave still, and being held captive. Huck and Tome went through a lot trying to help get Jim free. They actually cared for him and about his safety. And this was a time where whites were not supposed to care for blacks, and if they did they could even have been punished. Blacks were looked at as slaves, not really even people, more like objects, or possessions. And if this book were racist, Huck and Tom would not have cared a bit about Jims well being, but they went out of their way to help him on his way to freedom.
So in conclusion the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain is not racist. It is a story about how white and black really are not so different at all. Huck and Jim come together and help each other out through tough situations, so they can find their way to freedom. Yes, there may be some parts that if read on the surface level could seem racist, but just take the time, Huckleberry Finn is not racist in any way.
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