Essay, Research Paper: Adventures Of Huck Finn And Racism

Literature: Mark Twain

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There is a current debate that the description of Jim in the novel
"Huckleberry Finn" is racist leading to some schools banning it from
their libraries. Jim’s character is described as an uneducated and simple
sounding; illiterate slave and some people have looked upon this
characterization as racist. Jim is depicted as a slave in the south during a
period when slavery was common place and widely accepted as the way of life.
Slaves of this time period were not provided any formal education; never allowed
any independent thought and were constantly mistreated and abused. The author in
my opinion is merely describing how a slave spoke in those days and was trying
to give you the true feeling behind his thought, while writing this tale.
Despite a few instances in which Jim’s description might be misconstrued as
being racist, such as the use of the word "nigger", the reader should
be able to understand that this is a fictional portrayal of two boys, one white
and one black, during a time when slavery was common place. There is an obvious
contrast of the mind set depicted in Twain’s novel compared to then and now.
The use of the word "nigger" is most certainly a very slanderous slang
term that is not socially acceptable in present times. The dialect in which Jim
is speaking indicates how Jim spoke do to his lack of education and refinement
that white people refused to provide to slaves. This provision was not permitted
as white slave owners viewed blacks as property and as being unable to learn
proper grammar and structure of the English language. Some historians have
stated that this was also so because it allowed the white’s to maintain
control over their slaves in order to "keep the upper hand", so to
speak. We as a modern society should maintain an open mind when dealing with
literary works such as Huckleberry Finn and bare in mind that novels such as
these are written during socially diverse and sometimes opposite ways of
thinking. We should not ban a literary work such as Huckleberry Finn simply
because it is not accepted by modern day standards. As we look further into the
character’s( Jim’s) dialogue we find that Twain has written as accurately as
possible the way that he would sound and also to make you stop and think and
picture in your mind him speaking that way. Though difficult to interpret at
times, it gives you an authentic feel of this character’s persona. For those
that are die-hard readers, that "lose themselves" in what they are
reading, this approach is ideal.
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