The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Should Huck Finn Be Banned in Schools? Huckleberry Finn Should Not Be Banned Essay
On several occasions, schools have challenged and banned the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for its use of racial characterization and slang forthwith. The fictitious novel, written by Mark Twain, entails a story of a Negro slave and a white boy, whose journey downriver Mississippi regards a tale of two boys coming of age.
After its publication and release in 1876, the book generated controversy in the world of literature that remains today because of its ‘inappropriate’ nature from a conservative viewpoint. It made teaching and reading the book controversial. This led to its banning in schools in the United States many times. But should Huck Finn be banned in schools?
In spite of the controversy The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn generates, its hidden values support the use of this book in schools and prove the point it should not be among banned books. Indeed, the censorship of this book only blocks children from learning the history that surrounds the pre-Civil War and slavery. In this context, the conservative views with regard to this novel hurt the American education system as it blocks children from understanding the origin of the American Civil War and slavery.
Its banning stemmed from a supposed inappropriateness of the language used in the book at the time. However, for students today, understanding the use of the word “nigger” by Huck Finn, considered inappropriate and an insult at the time, would enable students to learn from the past and get used to offensive words in classrooms and social settings. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn language and characterization represent the context of America’s pre-Civil War era and slavery.
Racism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Those who vote for the reasons why Huck Finn should not be taught in schools always mention the theme of racism.The banning of the Huckleberry Finn because of its racial characterization only results in racial lines between authorities and the parents.
Eventually, the students fail to learn how to deal with offensive language references in a sensitive manner. The wide variety of racial groups present in American schools today means that racial lines often occur, and sometimes students cross them unknowingly. Twain’s novel racial characterization regards the use of the word “nigger” throughout the book and forms the reason for its banning from the use in schools (Twain 14.56).
However, though many schools decided not to teach the book, Twain’s classic novel should remain on the list of books used in school teaching. Teaching the challenges of racialism will help place this novel into a contextual timeline in American history and enable students and readers to understand the reasons behind its censorship.
The central theme in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn goes beyond race. The classic American novel highlights the coming together of races or people who historically could not coexist. The book illustrates loyalty that transcends any racial and social desegregation and hence, an urgent universal theme to teach to students.
The language used in the novel, though inappropriate at the time, can help students today to understand and appreciate the depth of characterization in classic literature. The character Huck Finn’s usage of the word “nigger” (n-word) contextually bore no racial meaning during the pre-Civil War and slavery periods.
The word “nigger” only became inappropriate in public communication at the turn of the 19th century as such an insult (Carey-Webb 25). Students cannot learn from the past, especially the wrongs of the past, and subsequently change the future if the past remains blocked from them.
Mark Twain presented this novel in a way that condemns slavery and racism present at the time in American society. A runaway slave, Jim, gets assistance from a young boy, Huckleberry Finn and his friend Tom. Although Huck regularly used the word “niggers” in the novel when referring to Jim and other African-Americans, he profoundly respected him and on several occasions, saved him from the return to slavery camps.
For instance, Huck makes an incredible decision when he tears his letter to Miss Watson that revealed Jim’s whereabouts; “I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things…and then I says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’…and never thought no more about reforming” (Twain 162). In light of deep racialism at the time, Huck Finn’s actions went against the standard expectations and as such, a positive role model in multi-racial school settings (Schulten 57).
In addition, the other white characters in this novel remain depicted in a negative way compared to Jim. For instance, Huck’s father, Pap, abuses alcohol while the King and the Duke engage in many malicious swindles.
These depictions show that Twain’s use of the word “nigger” when referring to Jim and African-Americans contained no racist or demeaning intent to the black population and could not be considered a racial slur. It shows the harshness of Southern life and the experiences underwent by black people in the pre-Civil War era which is the reason to keep the book in schools.
The book highlights essential lessons regarding racialism and social values and this is one of the reasons why The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should not be banned. Its main character, Huck Finn, underwent significant moral development from the time he met Jim to the end of the book. In particular, Huck gets involved in a struggle between good and evil, a struggle in which good eventually prevails (Culture Shock 2).
For example, Huck learns of the Duke and the King‘s evil schemes, including the impersonation of the Wilks brothers, after which he realizes the streaks in character of his “friends.” “I felt so ornery and low down and mean, that I say to myself, My mind’s made up, I’ll hive that money for them or bust” (Twain 132). Hence, he disliked the racial segregation and the social practices taking place at the time. Thus, this is one of the arguments for the book belonging in the classrooms.
Banning Huckleberry Finn Because of Slavery Viewpoints
Among the reasons why Huck Finn should not be taught in schools there is also the theme of slavery. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn represents the American society in the late nineteenth century, a period characterized by slavery and social exclusion of the black population from mainstream social activities. With regard to slavery, the novel “remains the only one that accurately portrays slavery, represents a black dialect, and highlights the significant role played by the African-American character in America’s history” (Carey-Webb 23).
In the book, Huck Finn portrays a positive role model when he aids Jim escape enslavement in the peak of slavery. While supporting the inclusion of the Adventures of Huckleberry at the school curriculum, Walrath writes; “the book demonstrates humanism, an idea that each person deserves respect and compassion, and attacks complacency regarding the social evils in our society” (Rationales 37). The social evils at the time included slavery and racial segregation of the nineteenth century.
Furthermore, the book captures a crucial section of American history. The settings of the novel, itself, involve a harsh environment in America’s history during racial exclusion. With regard to Twain’s use of the word “nigger,” Walrath reasons that the author “deliberately used the term to display the imperfect nature of a growing democracy” (Rationales 38).
Thus, the use of the term does not imply bias, rather its use bears historical implications as it captures the harsh social climate of the time. It shows that the application of the term matches with the cruel treatment slaves underwent during this era. It enables readers to understand slavery and the social awe associated with the word “nigger” in American history.
The Southern Lifestyle in Huckleberry Finn: Summary
Mark Twain satirizes the lifestyle in Southern cities of America in general through the way he depicts the characters. From the Grangerford family, Huck’s drunken father, the farmers, to the Duke and King, the characters represent the stubbornness and ignorance of Southerners back then. An example in this regard involves Huck’s father, Pap, who gets into a judge’s custody.
Subsequently, Pap pledges to change, an act that the judge declares the holiest time in history (Schulten 57). However, the following morning, the people find Pap drunk again. This hurts the judge, which appears ironic, as the judge believed that Pap would reform after his encounter with him. This example shows that the Southern citizens bore ignorance in this regard.
Southern lifestyles also involved family feuds and pointless conflicts. An example that illustrates the ignorance and absurdness of family feuds involves the Grangerford family. A rich family who treats him as part of the family takes in huckleberry. However, he later learns that a feud existed between Grangerfords and another family, the Shepherdsons.
The feud eventually leads to the murder of all the Grangerfords by the Shepherdsons in cold blood. This shows the pointless and stupid nature of the family feuds in Southern cities. Another example that shows the ridiculous nature of the Southern lifestyle regards the Duke and the King’s deceptive schemes, which, though silly, succeeded many times.
In the period leading up to the American Civil War, the customs, as well as the ideals of the North, contrasted significantly with that of the South. The South supported the institution of slavery, while the North opposed it (Carey-Webb 31).
Nevertheless, mainly the wealthy aristocrats owned slaves; the poor whites could not afford them. This factor, coupled with territorial conflicts caused by the westward expansion, culminated in the 1861 Civil War (Carey-Webb 33). Mark Twain uses satire to show the nature of the Southern lifestyle during the slavery era. He satirized slavery by revealing the ridiculous aspects of the Southern lifestyle and as such, calls for its abolition. Thus, the arguments for the necessity of Huckleberry Finn to be banned in schools because of racism are considered not viable.
People’s Viewpoints During this Era
During the slavery period, there arose the Abolitionists calling for the ending of slavery. However, some people, especially from the South, defended slavery.
Their argument revolved around economics, religion, humanitarianism, and religion. According to Booth, those defending slavery argued that an end to the slave economy would significantly affect the Southern economy, which relied heavily on cotton, rice, and tobacco farming (157).
They also held the view that freeing the slaves would result in widespread unemployment, and subsequently, uprisings and chaos. The defenders of slavery also argued that slavery in America mirrored slavery in other civilizations such as the Roman Empire and the Greek civilization and as such, represented a natural state of humankind.
From a religious viewpoint, the defenders of slavery argued that, in religious books such as the Bible, slavery remained widespread with no spiritual leader speaking out against it. In other words, slavery bore moral justification, as no one opposed it during biblical times. The defenders of slavery also involved the courts to legalize slave trade and slave ownership.
One example regards the Dred Scott Decision that ruled, “All blacks, including the slaves, lacked the legal right to launch anti-slavery case as they comprised the property of slave owners (Booth 163). Further, they held the view that the Constitution protected the right to ownership of property that included the slaves.
The defenders of the slave trade also argued for the divine nature of slavery. They believed that their introduction of Christianity into Africa helped eliminate heathen practices. According to this argument, slavery was expedient for the slaves as it ended the heathen practices and brought civilization to Central Africa. In fact, John Calhoun remarked that “the black race of Central Africa attained a civilized condition physically, intellectually and morally with the introduction of slavery” (Demac 60).
Others opposed to those campaigning for an end to slavery argued that the slaves got better care when sick and aged compared to slaves in Europe and the poor Northern States of America. James Thornwell remarked in 1860 that the conflict between those for slavery and those opposing the institution resembled an argument between Atheists and Socialists on one hand and supporters of social order on the other (Booth 164). This shows that slavery during this era attracted support from various people in the then American society.
Legal Cases Surrounding the Banning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The basis for the banning of the novel involves the depiction of Jim as a black slave and the use of the word “nigger,”; considered racialist. After its publication in 1885, the novel was censored the same year by the Concord public library in Massachusetts. Initially, the book’s attack stemmed from what others termed as its lack of decency (Demac 59).
Later, it was attacked as containing racist elements. However, at the time, no legal cases contributed to the censorship of the book; the ruling class perceived the use of the term “nigger” as racist while a deeper look reveals that the book advocated for an end to slavery.
In 1902, the Brooklyn Public Library removed the book from its shelves for a different reason; they cited the use of vulgar language as the reason. In particular, the library considered the use of the words “sweats” instead of “perspiring” as obscene and unsuitable for children.
In addition, the use of “scratched” instead of “itched” considered inappropriate at the time by the institution led to the removal of the book from the children’s section (Karolides 336). Additionally, the main character, Huck, portrayed a disrespectful attitude for authority. At the time, society expected literary works to convey higher social values rather than entertaining. This contributed to its censorship in most schools and public libraries.
However, soon after its publication, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn became an indispensable classic book in schools. Nevertheless, in 1957, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) protested against the inclusion of this book in the school curriculum due to its “racist aspects” (Karolides 36). The organization opposed the way the novel portrayed the slave, Jim, as equal to a young white boy, Huck, and a superior to the adult with regard to the decision-making ability.
Additionally, As Donelson confirms, “…the entrenchment of Huck Finn into the curriculum of American schools coincided with a Supreme Court case involving Brown against Topeka Board of Education in 1954” (21). This case brought the segregation in public schools to an end. Subsequently, students in public schools comprised of both black and white children.
In fact, “in 1957, the New York City Board of Education removed the book from the list of elementary school texts on the rationale that it contained passages considered derogatory to the Negroes”(Rationales 37). The admission of black children in public schools led to new protests against Huck Finn that culminated in the censorship of the book in schools and counties with a black population.
Should Huck Finn Be Banned in Schools? Critics’ Opinion
Those who fought for the inclusion of Huck Finn in the curriculum include teachers and school administrators. The teachers in Connecticut supported the idea that Huck Finn served as an influential role model for schoolchildren today (Culture Shock 4). They even developed the rationales for teaching the censored book in high schools.
Norma Walrath, a committee member of the Connecticut Council of English Teachers, supported the teaching of this book, “for it shows the idea of humanism; compassion and respect of others unlike ourselves” (Rationales 37). She further explains that Huck Finn forms an indispensable book for use in teaching students because it covers an extremely prominent part in American history: slavery and racial desegregation.
Walrath remarks that Mark Twain uses the word “nigger” rather deliberately to display the imperfect nature of the developing democracy in America then (Rationales 38). As such, to ban the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in schools affects the teaching of American history and the evils of slavery: a valuable lesson that students in today’s schools should learn.
Jocelyn Chadwick is another strong supporter of Huck Finn, who actively campaigned for the book to remain in the curriculum for juniors in Okla. Additionally, she engaged in numerous debates. She even wrote a book on the subject titled the Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which primarily describes the value of teaching Huck Finn to high school students in America (Culture Shock 2).
Much of her argument focuses on the language references used in the book. She remarks, “Race relations remain a sensitive topic in America today, which serves to point the importance of Huck Finn because of the debate it engenders” (Carey-Webb 24).
In the 1950s, many critics such as Leo Marx and Bernard DeVoto in their articles objected to the abrupt banning of the novel in schools. They noted a confluence of the Black and White cultures in Huck Finn’s story (Donelson 24). In addition, they cite prestigious American themes in the novel, such as the hypocrisy practiced by the Southern States with regard to the continuation of slavery and racial separation worthy to read.
Ernest Hemingway, a renowned author and a supporter of the inclusion of Huck Finn in school curricula, remarks, “Modern American literature originated from Twain’s, Huckleberry Finn” (Carey-Webb 22). Thus, though the book underwent censorship on several occasions, it nevertheless remains a popular book in the country and schools should not ban the novel in the future.
The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn appropriately describes slavery and racism in 19th Century America and this essay proves sufficient amount of reasons why Huck Finn should not be banned. Teachers should find ways to explain racism and its influence on modern-day society and culture with reference to the novel. The novel should remain in high school curriculum because it entails a fight against racism created, not through the racial aspects in the book, but the 19th Century capitalism.
Booth, Wayne. Censorship and the Values of Fiction. English Journal 53.3(1964): 155-164.
Carey-Webb, Allen. Racism and Huckleberry Finn: Censorship, Dialogue, and Change. English Journal 82.7(1993): 22-33.
Culture Shock. Born to Trouble: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. PBS. WGBH Educational Foundation. VHS 1999. 1-8
Demac, Donna. Liberty Denied; The Current Rise of Censorship in America. New York: PEN American Center, 1988.
Donelson, Ken. Filth’ and ‘Pure Filth’ in Our Schools—Censorship of Classroom Books in the Last Ten Years. English Journal 86.2(1997): 21-25.
Karolides, Nicholas et al. 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. New York: Checkmark Books, 1999.
Schulten, Katherine. Huck Finn: Born to Trouble. English Journal 89.2 (1999): 55-59.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. England: Electronic Centre, 1885. Print.
The Maturation of Emma, Huckleberry and Asher Compare and Contrast Essay
TIn ordinary language it is common to use the words ‘hero’, ‘main character’ or ‘protagonist’ interchangeably, however in the language of dramatic theory, these terms are not identical; protagonists belong to a sub-set of main characters who undergo a change over the course of the novel. This change may be a literal change or a figurative change.
A usual form this change takes is the growth of a character from childhood to maturity or from mental immaturity to self-awareness. Three examples of such a change may be found in the novels Emma by Jane Austen (1775-1817), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Samuel L. Clemens also known as Mark Twain (1835-1910) and My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (1929-2002).
In Emma, the eponymous protagonist Emma Woodhouse is, in the beginning, an immature, irresponsible and meddling young woman who blossoms into a mature and socially acceptable woman over the course of the novel. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huckleberry, a wild and adventurous rascal comes to terms with ‘civilization’. In My Name is Asher Lev, Asher manages to attain a level of reconciliation between the demands of his artistic muse and the norms of his community.
There are three literary elements which are potently applied in all three novels in order to portray the growth of the protagonist within the course of the novel. These three literary elements are; the use of point of view, the conflicts facing the protagonist and the use of symbolism to depict changes in the protagonist’s character. This paper aims to discuss the chosen literary elements that provide an in-depth insight of the personalities by elaborating author’s view about the growth of the protagonist in the course of the novel.
In terms of understanding protagonists Asher from the novel My name is Asher Lev, Huckleberry Finn from the novel Huckleberry Finn and Emma in the novel Emma, Asher Lev comes in front as the major character who has managed to bring better perception of the role of being a protagonist. Asher Lev has been projected as a character that was blessed with a community where one can live his life with serenity by practicing the ethical norms set by the community itself.
Growth of the protagonist has been shown from the fact that he comes into conflict with his values as bestowed in him by the community for the sake of his talent of painting. In the course of the novel, the author has projected the protagonist Asher to undergo turmoil as his parents did not want him to exhibit his paintings abroad because it rather reflected his anguish to the external world. The author has rather managed to provide a sympathetic concern with the protagonist that also motivates the reader (Potok, 2003).
Second in the examination of role of protagonists comes the character Emma projected by the author Jane Austen in the novel Emma. The protagonists has been projected as a complete stubborn and amazingly rich who tends to commit many wrong decision resulting a chaos in the length of author’s narratives in the novel.
The growth of the protagonist Emma comes visible to the readers as maturing by getting known the feelings of love and regret of matchmaking couple the way she wanted. The author has rather projected the character to be a negatively stubborn person who wanted to have everything. The character gets to know her flaws when she starts to know that she is a failure (Austen, 1816).
Huckleberry Finn is a feral child, who has grown up without parental control, he has been taught lots of things by those bent on ‘civilizing’ him, but he always ends up going against what he has been taught and doing what his heart tells him to do, despite being ridden with guilt at breaking the mores of society. In the end Huckleberry comes to reconcile with society, even while showing a glimpse of his former rebellious nature (Twain, 2007).
The literary element that differentiates the character Asher from the other chosen protagonists is the point of view. It has been observed that all three novels include narratives referring to point of view which is a literary element. For instance, in the case of Asher Lev, the narration or point of view helps us in understanding the growth of Asher from birth to mature age.
It is the narration that let us know that the protagonist discovered the talent of art within. We can understand the role of narration in shaping the perspective of readers regarding the growth of Asher by this quotation extracted from the novel stating, “As a matter of fact, observant Jews did not paint at all–in the way that I am painting.
So strong words are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated (Potok, 2003, p. 3)”. The quotation completely states and helps us observe the growth in protagonist as he confirms that he has started to paint and that’s the level of maturity. Moreover, the quotation also explains that people were using strong words against him that shows that in the course of the novel, the protagonist will have to go strong to face the hardships.
The quotation helps the readers to understand the role of narration or point of view in elaborating the author’s view of protagonist. In a similar manner, in case of other two novels, the readers have also been persuaded by narrations or point of view to shape a perspective regarding the protagonist Emma and Huckleberry.
The role of narration in the novel Emma clearly projects the growth of Emma, the protagonist, throughout the novel. The type of narration observed in the novel Emma is objective narration that supplies the views of author for the growth of Emma. In the case of Emma novel, one can observe an omniscient narrator unlike My Name is Asher and Adventures of Huckleberry Fin.
The narration in the novel Emma describes Emma to be a handsome and extremely rich person which clearly changes it description style as follows, “The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself (Austen, 1816, p. 76)”: As the quotations marks the maturation of character through omniscient perspectives. The quotation thus allows readers to shape perspective regarding the growth of the protagonist.
In the case of third novel, the adventures of Huckleberry Fin, we come to know that the role of point of view of narration is entirely significant as in this manner the perspectives of author come across easily but it is somewhere dependent upon the plot. It has been observed in the third novel representing protagonist, Huckleberry Fin, that the narration is visible in case of colloquial stating the protagonist to remain the same as in personality.
The only thing that changes around him is his environment influenced by incidents and adventures. For example, “The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her way (Twain, 2007, p. 32)”.
The quote states that protagonist for sure lived a terrible phase in his life but that could not change him or grow him in another personality. Thus it could be stated that the comparative pointer between the narratives with respect to the protagonist are quite precedent as it differs greatly. It shows that the literary element of point of view for sure shapes reader perspective regarding growth of the protagonist.
The second literary element that has greatly observed to serve as a perspective shaper for the readers of Emma, My Name is Asher Lev and Adventures of Huckleberry Fin is conflict. The second literary element is conflict that is visible in all three novels. For instance, in the case of My Name is Asher Lev, we can observe that the conflict is between the protagonist and his community.
The conflict between the protagonist and the community helps the readers to understand the source of growth in the protagonist life in the novel. The following quotation helps us in understanding that the conflict rather worked as a catalyst in the growth of the protagonist.
It goes as, “Away from my world, alone in an apartment that offered me neither memories nor roots, I began to find old and distant memories of my own, long buried by pain and time and slowly brought to the surface no (Potok, 2003, p. 113)”. The quotations shows us that the conflict between the community and protagonist gave way to the insight of protagonist and that he moved ahead to decide one thing from the options community and his passion.
The literary element of conflict also has a high significance in the novel Emma as the protagonist goes through troubles because of her self being. The concept of self being refers to the conflict that an individual probably have from himself. The protagonist grows in the course of the novel as coming to know the fact that self centeredness rather became a trouble. The following quote helps us understanding the role of literary element of conflict in the growth of Emma.
It follows as “The first error, and the worst, lay at her door. It was foolish, it was wrong; to take so active a part in bringing any two people together (Austen, 1816, p. 116)”. In this way, through the help of the above quotation, it could be understood that the protagonist turned towards a turning point to gain understanding with the right path. The conflict of individuality becomes visible in the novel with the help of conflict. The literary element conflict has not been made prominent in the case of Huckleberry.
The young boy Huckleberry does not have any of the conflict but the environment in which he grows in the course of the novel has rather conflicting instances. For instances, the environment set by the author around protagonist is conflicting to what we call a normal living. For example, “ hadn’t had a bite to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens—there isn’t nothing in the world so good when it’s cooked right (Twain, 2007, p. 234)” .
Thus, with the help of the above quotation, it comes to our understanding that the growth of the protagonist Huckleberry is elaborated in terms of the conflicting environment he lives. Therefore, it could be said that the literary element of conflict is present in all three of the protagonists’ life but the intensity has been observed to be less in the case of protagonist Huckleberry.
The third literary element is symbolism which is quite evident in all the three novels. It can be stated that in the novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, has a strong support of symbolism which helps the readers in experiencing the growth of the protagonist Huckleberry. The symbolism in the novel Adventures of Huckleberry is the river of Mississippi.
The symbolism, the river of Mississippi, states the escape of the protagonist from all the mishap where he stays for longer hours on his rafts. The growth in the protagonist is visible as he has found out the way to cherish his life out of incidents that have rather shattered him.
The following quote states the reason why the protagonist will go to Mississippi river to escape. “It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lie on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened (Twain, 2007, p.67)”.
From the quotation it comes visible to us that the protagonist does not really want to live a life full of negative incidents and he has rather grown to take his life where he wants to go. In this way, the readers experience the growth in the protagonist Huckleberry.
The literary element of symbolism plays a very major role in the elaboration of growth of protagonist Asher. The symbol used in the novel is ear-lock that shows the concern of religious closeness of Asher. In the course of the novel, Asher cuts his ear-lock that shows us the maturation of the protagonist.
The maturation of the protagonist is visible through the symbol ear lock because it was a symbol to show his belief in the rituals and value as his father had it and so he had that sort of hair style. The protagonist has been observed to cut his ear lock because he could not keep his religion and passion for art along as both of them were conflicting to each other. It was the religious belief that one should keep bonds strong and keep intensions within.
This idea comes visible from the following quotation. “As a matter of fact, observant Jews did not paint at all–in the way that I am painting. So strongwords are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated: I am atraitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, myfriends, my people (Potok, 2003 p.87).”The protagonist cuts his ear lock which is action and a symbol indicating the growth of the protagonist in the eyes of readers and is a mere elaboration.
According to the protagonist, it was not the logic to keep the same haircut as his father did. In the case of third protagonist Emma, the symbolism is the word game that many characters in the chapter 41 play. The symbol of playing the word game actually illustrates misunderstandings among characters that rather work a source of growth of Emma in knowing something he never knew and changes his mind set to look at the things.
In this way the readers come to know the growing phase in Emma. The quotation adds a meaning to the statement of symbolism as, “Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken; but where, as in this case, though the conduct is mistaken, the feelings are not, it may not be very material (Austen, 1816, p. 132)”. This means that the literary element of symbolism for sure plays a major role in all three selected novels.
From the above analysis, it could be stated that the role of protagonist is very important to bring transition to the plot of the story and that the protagonist itself grows throughout the novel with the help of literary elements. The literary elements such as point of view (narratives), conflict and symbolism contrastingly and comparatively in the three protagonists namely, Emma, Asher and Huckleberry helps the reader to understand the growth of the protagonist in the course of the novel.
We have observed in the above analysis, that in particular, the element of narratives clearly reflects the idea of author and the second person. Narratives allowed us to understand feelings and attributes of protagonist from a different angle. Following the same manner, the second literary element of conflict also helps us in creating a perspective. It has been observed that the element of conflict takes place in all three stories Emma, My Name is Asher Lev and
The adventures of Huckleberry. The conflict has been observed in the stories differently from respective antagonists present in the novel. Thirdly, we have also noticed that the element of symbolism has also played a major role in elaborating us a different angle for setting our perspective. It has been studied that raft for Huckleberry, ear lock for Asher and word game assures maturation instances in the characters.
Austen, J. (1816). Emma. New York: Printed for John Murray.
Potok, C. (2003). My Name Is Asher Lev. New York: Anchor Books.
Twain, M. (2007). Huckleberry Finn. London: Evans Brothers.
The Novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain Essay
Account for Huck’s ability to lye his way out of scrapes
Huckleberry Finn is an interesting character who is shown to be witty and smart. Even though he has had a hard time in his childhood, he has still learned a few things on the way. A particular “talent” that he has is to lie his way out of any situation. This gives him an advantage over others. It is obvious that he uses it to own advantage but sometimes, to help others.
Huck has been communicating with the worst people imaginable. This gives him valuable knowledge of adult life. He realizes that lying can get him far. He uses it many times to deceive people. The fact that he is a great actor helps him make people believe.
Not only Huck’s lies are a negative thing, but it is also positive when he helps Jim out. This shows that life and hardships have still taught him the right thing. He also understands that morally it is not right to lie, but sometimes, there are exceptions. He finds it acceptable to lie to make a good deed and does not hesitate to do so. As he had experienced so much, he pretends really well.
More importantly, his character adjusts to the situation. He acquires the role of the liar and follows it to the end. He does it so well that people have no doubt. As he feels morally forgiven, it keeps his conscience clean. This lets him stay in the role and feel no hesitation.
His ability to lie so effectively comes from several factors. One is the knowledge of people and human character. He is well aware of his capabilities and uses them. As he has “the good” on his side, he feels no remorse. His imagination and charisma finish the package of a perfect liar.
Explain why Huck pretends to be murdered
There are many reasons why people would want to deceive others in major ways, and several things contribute. Huckleberry Finn goes as far as to fake his own murder. In doing this, he has accomplished several things. But, there were also a few reasons for his actions. His personal wants and goals were activated by the environment he was in.
His individual life was one of the causes. The relationship with his father was a shaky one and this was a plausible reason. He was afraid he would get into trouble again. By faking his death, he escapes punishment. But mostly, this was a smaller reason.
As he gets accepted into “higher” society, he realizes how difficult it is. The complications make him do things he never wanted to do. He gets tired of wearing proper clothes and having a schedule. He wants to find a way out by lying, but the type of lie must be of the needed quality. As such, he decides that by faking his murder, people will stop thinking about him.
Huck’s simulation of own death has also a socio-personal characteristic. He realizes that the society of people is not for him. Mark Twain wanted to show that some people cannot function in a “normal” society. Huck is escaping the unknown civilization but in a way, he is escaping from himself. He leaves his problems behind and finds peace by being himself.
Literary Criticism on Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was first published in 1885, by Mark Twain is regarded by most people as one of the important American works of fiction ever written because of its artistry and evocation of major themes within the United States of America. The book received praises because of its ability to teach crucial lessons as well as entertain its readers.
Through the use of satire, the touching and exciting adventures depicted in the novel portray significant themes that are of essence in the American society. On the other hand, the book is also the subject of major controversies. Since its publication, the work of fiction has been criticized and banned from libraries because of its alleged offenses to propriety. Nonetheless, the popularity of the book has not been affected by these controversies. This essay discusses some of the novel’s critical interpretations.
Most detractors of the novel have labeled Mark Twain to be a “racist writer.” John H. Wallace’s essay, “The Case against Huck Finn,” established the tone for the critical reception of the nineteenth century novel. He says, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is the most grotesque example of racist trash ever written” (Leonard, 16).
In the essay, Wallace examines the racism in the novel in a bid to protect the African Americans from “mental cruelty and harassment depicted in the novel. Wallace has been one of the prominent critics of Mark Twain and the essay is a return to the objections he has made about the novel’s historical significance elsewhere. His criticisms mainly points at the racial slurs Mark Twain uses in the novel.
Wallace argues that Mark Twain’s style of writing is offensive to African American readers, especially the young ones. Since it represents a perpetuation of cheap slave-era stereotypes, he claims that it should not be studied in schools. Wallace claims that the representation of the character Jim, who stands for the Blacks in Mark Twain’s text, has a racial inclination. As the story starts, Jim is presented as someone who believes in superstition.
In addition, he does not articulate his grievances and is content in his role as a hardworking slave. When he discovers that his owner, Miss Watson, wanted to sell him to other people in the south, he escapes and travels with Huck along the river. Wallace posits that Jim is portrayed as a model of the stereotypes that were connected with the Black minority in the nineteenth century racist discourse.
Mark Twain presents him as rather ‘subhuman,’ feeble-minded, wicked, and indolent, which shows that he is inferior to the white people. For example, the statement, “Miss Watson’s nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to magic with it”( Twain, 17), depicts the subordinate status of Jim. The negative portrayal of Jim by the author is the main reason why Wallace campaigned for the banning of the book from institutions of learning.
Wallace concludes his essay by promoting his own adapted version of the novel “which no longer depicts blacks as inhuman, dishonest, or unintelligent” (Leonard, 24). Moreover, pointing to his own adapted version, he recommends, “this book should not be used with children (Leonard, 24).
Forrest G. Robinson and James Cox also asserted a critical attitude towards the novel. The former claimed that “Jim eventually reverts to a two dimensional character, gullible and superstitious” while the latter “never actually asserts a strong position on the character of Jim, placing him in ambiguity” (Wrobel, 4).
However, it is important to note that the critics did not look at Mark Twain’s ironic representation of the situation. Wallace’s adaptation of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, undercuts the irony that Twain has intended to use to attack the institution of slavery during the nineteenth century.
His softening of the white bigotry can make people to conclude that the blacks were not treated cruelly and people can also forget the reasons why they were enslaved, to start with. If the novel was out rightly racist, then it could not have been a story about a white boy (Huck) and an African-American (Jim). Although during that time blacks were treated inhumanly, Huck and Jim related well with one another and found pleasure in carrying out common activities.
During the times of slavery, the two races were very different and the whites were thought to be superior. Sharing of common things was unheard of. However, in the novel, Mark Twain points out that one can share common interests with another regardless of his or her racial background. “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” (Twain, 50). These words were spoken by Huck. He was telling Jim that he wont tell anybody about his escape from slavery. If the novel were racist, Huck could not have even attempted to assist his friend in escaping from the yolk of slavery.
The language of the book has also been a subject of criticism. Notable, is the fact that the word “nigger” has been repeated in the novel more than two hundred times. Langston Hughes, in his autobiography comments that ”the word nigger to colored people of high and low degree is like a red rag to a bull.
Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously, of necessity for the sake of realism, or impishly for the sake of comedy, it doesn’t matter (Webb, para. 15). Since the African-Americans do not like the word, that is why some of them have heavily criticized Twain for using the word so many times in the book. Allan B. Ballard is one of the critics of the language used in the novel.
He says, “The presentation of the novel as an “American classic” serves as an official endorsement of a term uttered by the most prejudiced racial bigots to an age group eager to experiment with any language of shock value” (Webb, para. 9). For instance, “I see it warn’t no use wasting words-you can’t learn a nigger to argue.”(Twain, 78). Ballard argues that such instances where the word has been used tend to stereotype Jim as a stupid nigger who is incapable of comprehending anything.
Interestingly, in those days when the novel was written, the use of the word “nigger” was not so much debatable as it is now. Writers could use the language even when addressing African-American without much contention. However, just a few yeas ago did people start criticizing Twain for his use of the word. And the use of the “n word” has made critics to label the work of fiction as racist. Critics, like Ballard, have asserted that Jim is only a stereotype in the story.
He cannot think for himself. Therefore, he merely follows the suggestions of Huck (and later Tom) in performing tasks. All through the book, different characters put him down. And at one time, Huck even feels guilty of assisting him in his quest for freedom. Maybe, the critics strongest assertion is that he is not a conventional slave of the nineteenth century. This is because slaves received much worse treatment than the one depicted in the story.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that Mark Twain was just trying to represent the real situation as it was during his time. We are separated from the events in the story by close to one hundred and fifty years so we need to understand the novel in that context. The word “nigger” was used frequently during that time. More so, individuals used to despise the ones who were slaves and the novel is an attempt to depict this situation. The author of the novel seems to be condemning this practice in his sly manner.
Martin Holz claims that although Mark Twain succeeded in using a narrator who speaks vernacular, there are two contradictory voices in the language used. He criticizes the language of the novel by saying that “Hick Finn conveys all kinds of sentiments and perceptions in the language he has at his disposal to articulate his spontaneous reactions to them and in a more or less random order rather than a logical structure”(Holz, 5).
This makes Huck to act like a transmitter instead of a narrator in the story and makes him to seem to have no visual perception of the time. Holz argues that instead of saying general statements or definitive personal opinions, the narrator most of the time does not go beyond giving a mere narration of the things he encounters, and the language he employs in the process makes him to be a less sophisticated narrator having a constrained perspective about his surroundings.
Concerning the second contradictory voice, Holz says that “the second voice emerges in the novel as the first voice with his heavy use of vernacular is replaced by a narrator who used regional lingo only occasionally, thus offering a different outlook on the characters and events in the novel” (5). Although Twain is one of the writers to use this technique in writing, the two contradictory voices used in the novel complicates the process of narration as a reader can fail to understand what is taking place.
In conclusion, despite the critical reception of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is important in directing attention to some issues that the American society has not taken seriously. The themes that are portrayed in the novel are invaluable and to totally discredit the book cannot be a move in the right direction.
This is because readers would not get the advantage of the much needed knowledge and growth that they can reap after going through the humor-filled book. Therefore, the critical look at the novel should also encompass the major themes that it portrays.
Holz, Martin. Race and Racism in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag, 2000. Print.
Leonard, James S. Satire or evasion?: Black perspectives on Huckleberry Finn. Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 1994. Print.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Chatto & Windus/ Charles L. Webster, 1885. Print.
Webb, Allen.”Teaching Huck Finn: The Controversy and the Challenge.” Resources. Western Michigan University. 2002. Web.
Wrobel, Isabella. Racism in Huckleberry Finn: Mark Twain. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag, 2007. Print.
Racism in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain Term Paper
Huckleberry Finn is a novel written by Mark Twain, which was published in 1888 (Wieck 23). Since then, the book has been a topic of controversial debates because of its dominant theme of racism. It has received a lot of criticism because of challenging authority, making fun at the concept of religion, and offering misleading advice to children. The novel has been banned in many schools because of the theme of racism. The author uses the word “nigger” so many times that the readers get the feeling that Twain is promoting racism (Wieck 43).
In today’s world, the word has been replaced by the phrase “African American.” In the media, the word is usually censored or replaced with the phrase “the N-word.” Throughout the novel, Twain uses characters and certain events to explore the theme of racism. The book is considered as one of the greatest works in the genre of literature.
For that reason, it has been reprinted by certain publishing houses that have replaced the offensive word with ‘slave.” The book was published before the Civil War when racism was rampant in the American society. Other critics have argued that the novel is not racist but appears so because many readers have little or no understanding of Twain’s use of language.
The theme of racism
Due to repetition of the word “nigger” in the novel, many schools have banned the book and certain libraries have censored it. The reason for censoring and banning the novel is the theme of racism, which is explored through characters such as Jim and Huck. Jim is a black slave who escapes from the custody of his owner Miss Watson. Throughout the book, the author makes certain descriptions and characterizations that many critics describe as racist.
Critics who endorse the novel argue that censoring the book is a sign of ignorance because many readers do not read between the lines in order to understand the author’s message (Wieck 46). They argue that people who criticize the book possess superficial understanding of Twain’s literary style. The first description of Jim in the book is negative. He is described as illiterate, highly superstitious, and of low intelligence. Huck’s racist parents influenced him into developing negative attitudes towards black people.
The reason for Jim’s situation is understandable. He was not allowed to go to school and was mistreated and abused. Twain depicts slavery as it happened during his times because slaves were mistreated, abused, and barred from attending school (Wieck 48). He uses the character of Huck to express his opposition to slavery and racism. He uses the characters of Huck and other white people such as Miss Watson to demonstrate the absurdity of racism.
The character of Pap is used to advance the theme of racism in the book. On one incident, he is angered by the realization that certain states allow black people to vote (Wrobel 6). He cites the case of a college professor. Even though the professor is more educated and has a better lifestyle than him, Pap decides to refrain from voting in future because the professor has the right to vote. He thus says,
Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to? It was ‘lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn’t too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I’ll never vote agin. (Twain 28-29)
Pap knows that he is financially, intellectually, and socially inferior to the professor. Therefore, it is ironical for him to despise the professor simply because he is of a different race. Unlike Pap who does not have a job and is a drunkard, the professor has a job and lives a good life. Pap believes that he is above the professor because he is white.
He believes that nothing can make an African American better than a white person. It is evident that Huck was raised in a racist environment (Wrobel 6). However, throughout the book, he gradually changes his perception about African Americans.
In chapter 15, Huck is angered by the fact that he has to apologize to a black person. Even though he hates it, he apologizes anyway. His apology does not mitigate the severity of Twain’s advancement of racism in the book. Huck is a little different from other racist characters. Even though he is racist, he acts in a way that shows his little respect for black people (Wrobel 6). Maybe Twain uses Huck to show the differences in people’s perception of race. Huck says,
It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way. (Twain 89)
Literary critics argue that the author created the character of Huck to show that even though many white people were racist, some of them respected black people. Such incidents reveal Twain’s feelings regarding racism.
In chapter 16, Huck talks ill of Jim. He says that it is stupid of Jim to come back with the intention of stealing his own children. Huck further says Jim’s notion that he can free his children has resulted from his own weakness. He then contradicts himself by saying that Jim wants to steal children that belong to a man that he does not know. Huck quotes an offensive saying that advances the theme of racism in the novel. He says,
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 nigger an inch and he’ll take an ell.” Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking. Here was this nigger, 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 92)
Twain narrates an incident involving Jim and Huck in order to express the absurdity of racism. After meeting Jim in the Island, Huck decides not to report him to Miss Watson. He is confused because he is unable to decide whether to obey the force of society that describes Jim as a slave or the force of their friendship that sees him as an equal human being (Wrobel 7). In the closing chapters of the book, Huck and Tom come to the realization that Jim is not property but a human being who is their equal.
Many instances are presented in the book in which Huck fails to understand why his friend Jim is a slave. Twain uses Huck to express society’s attitude towards slavery and racism. To show the evil nature of racism, the author gradually transforms the character of Jim throughout the book (Wrobel 7). At the end, the reader is challenged to modify the description of Jim given at the beginning of the book.
The voice of society is represented by Huck. However, Twain uses other characters to refute the ideas presented by Huck with regard to racism.
Another character that advances the theme of racism is Duke. In chapter 26, Duke says that black people are thieves. He says that it is impossible for the black man who is responsible for cleaning to refrain from stealing money. Twain uses the word “borrow’ instead of “steal.” Duke says that,
Because Mary Jane ‘ll be in mourning from this out; and first you know the nigger that does up the rooms will get an order to box these duds up and put ’em away; and do you reckon a nigger can run across money and not borrow some of it? (Twain 181)
In the book, Duke is depicted as a thief. Therefore, it is hypocritical of him to say that all black people are thieves. Duke has a similar attitude to other white characters in the book that welcome white strangers into their homes but lock up black strangers (Wieck 53). This shows that they are racist. The skin color of black strangers is not a good enough reason to lock them up. Their actions show that they do not like black people.
In the novel, African Americans are depicted as slaves and unworthy human beings. This is evident from the character of Huck at the beginning of the book. According to Huck, black people are slaves and white people are superiors. However, this perception changes after a friendship develops between him and Jim. He comes to the realization that Jim was like him. He learns this from observing Jim’s personality and actions.
The realization shows that it is naive and hypocritical of Huck to consider black people as slaves because of their skin color (Wrobel 9). For instance, Jim cries when he fails to find Huck. After he shows up, Jim hugs him affectionately. Jim’s actions change Huck’s perception of black people.
He realizes that they are human beings who possess feelings just like white people. Twain satirizes the value of black people through the character of Huck. For instance, Huck describes a riverboat accident that delayed him as he made his way to Aunt Sally’s home. In the accident, no one dies but a black person (Wieck 55). To Huck, the life of an African American is not precious.
Before the end of the novel, the author uses the character of Tom to show that race is a trite issue because all human beings are equal. The character of Jim depicts African Americans as intellectually inferior because in several instances throughout the book, it is difficult for Jim to express himself clearly because he is illiterate. However, Twain smashes this notion before the last chapter. Tom says that,
They hain’t no RIGHT to shut him up! SHOVE!—and don’t you lose a minute. Turn him loose! He ain’t no slave; he’s as free as any cretur that walks this earth! (Twain 291).
From this excerpt, it is evident that the writer expresses his opinion regarding racism. He closes the book by stating that all human beings are equal regardless of their race. This is evident from the actions of Miss Watson who set Jim free after declining to sell him. Not all characters had change of heart with regard to racism.
Within the context of the aforementioned excerpt, Tom argues with Aunt Sally who is happy about Jim’s recapture. Tom vows to set Jim free even if everyone in the room disliked the idea (Wrobel 18). Even though he wants to set Jim free, he convinces him to stay locked up for his personal amusement.
Huckleberry Finn has received critical reviews because of its dominant theme of racism. The character of Jim and Huck are used to advance the theme. In the initial chapters, Huck considers black people as slaves and white people as superior. He despises them. His attitude is largely due to the racist environment in which he grew in. his dad, Pap, is a drunkard and jobless man who is also racist. Twain’s goal of writing the novel was to show the absurdity of racism and slavery especially in the South.
However, over the years, many people have misunderstood his motive. Before the end of the book, Twain uses the character of Tom to show that all human beings are equal regardless of their race. Tom vows to set Jim free because according to him, all human being are equal and should be free. The transformation of Huck’s attitude towards Jim is proof enough that Twain authored the novel to show that he detested racism.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Cricket House Books LLC, 2013. Print.
Wieck, Carl. Refiguring Huckleberry Finn. New York: University of Georgia, 2003. Print.
Wrobel, Isabella. Racism in Huckleberry Finn. New York: GRIN Verlag, 2010. Print.
Dont Remove Huck-Finn!
Why would we remove a great American classic? We should not remove Huckleberry Finn. However, some people may believe that this novel causes way too many problems to still be available to read. This novel is one of the few books in American history that can relate to the situations that was going on when this book came out.
Huckleberry Finn may have caused many problems ever since it has been having been published, but it causes problems because people that read it doesnt want to be outside of their comfort zone. This is the number one reason why people dont want this book to be available to the public.
Huckleberry Finn teaches people about American history. It shows the readers how our country used to be. This story tells readers that we used to have slaves. At the beginning of this novel, Huck says Miss Watson has a big nigger named Jim. That was just the way of life back then, and people are offended by it. Mark Twain did not write this novel to cause controversies or to offend anyone. One of the main reasons he wrote this book is to show how the US used to be.
This novel was also written to show the readers how a white boy and a black man can get along with all the things that were happening back then. Huck and Jims relationship grows very close together while they both are trying to get free. It started when Huck went into that town and spoke to a woman. The woman told Huck that people were after Jim, so Huck ran back and said: Come on Jim they are after us. Huck said us because he believed that they were like family and that their relationship grew so close with one another.
Lastly, that Huckleberry Finn should not be removed is its just a good book to read. This book was written in the 1880s and its still a hot book. People love Huckleberry Finn, not because it has the n-word in it, but because it shows how whites and blacks can get alone. If people could get over the use of the n-word in this they would love it too. Huckleberry Finn is an awesome book for so many reasons, and it doesnt deserve to be taken away.
Huckleberry Finn is an amazing book, and people should not have the right to take this book away. This book has so many details about how life was in the past. This book teaches our students how to embrace the past, and shows our students that it was the way of life. It shows how a white person and a black person can get along with all the problems that we had back in the day. This book is an awesome book and it shouldnt be getting taken away from the people that love this book.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Synthesis & Conclusion
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is considered one of his and Americas finest novels. It follows a runaway boy and a slave making their way through the American South in the early 1800s, making it a realistic story of what life was like during that time. Twain goes where most Americans dont want to go, using racial slurs and discussing what really happened in the early days of the United States.
The book brilliantly starts ethical and cultural conversations, but in order to understand the deep meaning of the book, one must have great literary skills. And the high school students around America who are required to read this complex novel dont have the ability or skill to understand what Twain wrote. When high school students read the novel, they cannot fully grasp the complexity of it, so much of Twains work goes to waste. Twains novel should not be a required text in American high schools due to the academic maturity needed to understand the text.
In his novel, Twain used many advanced literary techniques that were seen as absurd, compared to other texts from the time, to nineteenth-century critics. In a criticism of the novel, author T.S. Elliot discussed the advanced language from the book. She described it as, an innovation, a new discovery in the English language that no other authors were able to accomplish. One of the techniques Twain used on each and every page of the book was the change in dialect between characters. To a highly educated reader, this demonstrates the different personalities from character to character as well as Mark Twains racial stance. But to a normal reader, this complexity can be seen as inconsistent and childish. The less educated person would not have the skill to recognize the ingenuity of this writing style, while a more experienced reader has been trained to pick up on what Twain is communicating. Huckleberry Finn also includes what some think to be explicit and offensive language. Without advanced literary knowledge and careful observation, the term nigger is easily mistaken as racist. To a normal reader, this term can appear as offensive to the black race. In his criticism, Huck, Jim, and American, Racial Discourse, David Smith shows that nigger is neither to offend nor merely to provide linguistic authenticity. He explores the idea of Frontier humor which is another vessel for Twain to satirically convey his views of society. Only the most intelligent readers have the ability to recognize the satire behind his views. Most high school students do not possess the ability to dissect and to comprehend the complex literary content of Twains novel.
High school students dont have the ability to understand the content surrounding cultural interactions. Children in todays society have been sheltered their whole lives and dont have any experience with cultural concepts through Americas history. Mike Luckovich composed a comic to explain the lack of exposure in the youth of todays society. His comic shows a teacher saying Mark Twain used the n-word 219 times in Huck Finn he was one of the nineteenth century’s greatest and a student interrupts gangsta rappers? Luckovichs comic demonstrates that Americas students have barely if at all, experienced cultural diversity. Many are not in the correct location to learn hands-on what historical America looked like. Twains book takes place in the South where the ratio of African Americans is much greater than in other regions of the US, where the majority of the population is white. Author Jane Smiley explains that black Americans understand racism as a way of structuring American culture. Her statement explains that few students in todays society can fully grasp on to the concept of the development of American culture from racism. The racial and culture concepts presented in Huckleberry Finn cannot be understood by high school students and can easily confuse them due to inexperience.
Twains novel contains ethical controversy which gives it its relevance, but the concept of it can be challenging to understand. The biggest question surrounding this novel among critics, authors, and readers since the nineteenth century is whether Twains perspective is ethical or not. Toni Morrison wrote about this in his criticism, This Amazing Troubling Book. She wrote that the novel was complicated territory for sophisticated scholars let alone young students. Morrison discussed how complicated and difficult it was for her to read the novel at a young age and explored how even the most advanced readers struggle with Twains ethical stance. She expressed how even after her years of literary study and experience she still cannot grasp on to if Twain is ethical or not. The ethical conversations alone makes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a deeply complex novel. One of Mark Twains finest novels, Huckleberry Finn, contains important cultural and ethical conversations related to Americas troubled history. He goes in depth into the early days of the United States and goes where no other author during his time was brave enough to go. The deep complexity of the novel can only be understood by highly educated scholars and those with academic maturity. Yet, thousands of students in American high schools read Twains novel every year. These students dont have the experience or ability to understand the advanced literary techniques in the novel. Due to the academic maturity needed to understand the text, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should not be a required text in American high schools.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Offensive Language in Literature
It is a controversial topic as to whether or not the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain should be taught in our school systems. When trying to teach the book, many schools have had difficulty because of the language being offensive in todays society. Some claim that the story should be banned from schools because it is racist, grotesque, and scaring to the youth who read it.
In reality, the book is actually a tool that can help inform the youth as to what racism was like between the 1830s -1840s. The book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a significant part of Americas history and should be taught in schools. The story of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain was published on December 10, 1884. Only a month after its publication, A Concord, Massachusetts library banned the book. They also made several statements about its narrative voice being coarse and ignorant.
This caused other libraries to follow in banning the book and commenting on its inadequacy. In 1998, a parent from Arizona sued her school district for requiring the students to read the book. She claimed that racial tension in the school became far worse after the book was read. Later in 2011, a professor at the University of Virginia named Stephen Railton, published a version of the book without using the n-word. Instead it was replaced with the word slave. The title of the altered book was called The Hipster Huckleberry Finn. In the description of the book it says the adventures of Huckleberry Finn are now neither offensive nor uncool Stephen Railton.
In response to the banning of his book Mark Twain wrote I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn for adults exclusively, & it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them… I wish I could say a softening word or two in defence of Huck’s character, since you wish it, but really in my opinion it is no better than God’s, & the rest of the sacred brotherhood. Mark Twain did not intend for his book to be The main argument against the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn being taught in schools is that it is racist, grotesque, and scaring to the youth who read it. Many of its readers suggested that the use of the n-word was derogatory, offensive, degrading and just horribly inappropriate. The book exhibits in precise detail what everyday life was like in the North and South from the perspective of Huck and Finn. The fact is, this book is a realistic perspective of what our history was like. Just because we had slavery, racism, and brutality in our past, doesnt mean that it isnt crucial to teach in schools.
Physical Journey in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
It is a natural thing for humans to engage in a physical journey, the journey differs depending on the person, and, each journey is important in its own way. Many authors depict these journeys in their writings. One such author is Mark Twain who covers Huckleberry Finns physical journey in his book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
In this book, Huckleberrys physical journey is to not only create a climax but also to show growth and maturity. Nevertheless, his movement is more than a journey. It bears great meaning and significance such as offering a very realistic depiction of Southern life before the Civil War and the town attitude towards race and racism.
The novel starts off with Huck being adopted by a very strict, but kind lady name Widow Douglas. Every day Miss Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson gives Huck a spelling, reading, and math lesson in hope of fixing his behavior. However, its all in vain when he decides to leave the town. Due to Hucks past, he has no interests in learning, he is only interested in Tom, staying alive, killing and stealing from others. This shows the reader how childish and nonexperienced Hucks is because he does not know the conscience of being a murder. When Huck ran away in fear of being kill by Pap, it portrays innocence and purity. As well as Hucks new awaiting physical journey; escaping racism.
Along the way, he met Jim, a slave who was also trying to find his freedom and so together, Jim and Huck go on their quests to achieve freedom. Huckleberry desires to achieve freedom from, civilization while Jim thirsts to achieve freedom from slavery. The two characters travel down the Mississippi River. The river is a motif. The river is symbolic of the desire to become more secure and liberal. I never felt easy till the raft was out in the middle of the Mississippi we was free and safe once more. As they traverse, they are doing more than moving down this river. They are learning to discover who they are individual while growing and learning about themselves along the way.
Throughout the book, as these two individuals travel down the Mississippi river searching for freedom, Mark Twain shows the changes that occur in Huck. One of these changes pertains to the opinions that Huck holds of Jim. In the beginning, Huck feels unwilling to help Jim attain his freedom. This can be seen when Huck almost turns Jim over to the slave catchers. He says, I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him, the use of this idiom helps to accentuate the over-eagerness he has conforming to the expectations that society has through advocating slavery. Despite the author showing the slow transformation that Huck experiences and undergoes in recognizing the equality that Jim has, the author finally shows this by establishing that Jim is equal to the white people. It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger but I have done it, and I wasn’t even sorry for it afterward neither.
The author is successful in showing the importance of morality to an individual. He does this through showing that the physical Journey that Huck undergoes provides him with the moral education that he is in dire need of despite not knowing this. At the beginning of the journey, Huck is seen hunting the Arabs. Besides this, he is seen telling Jim a completely distasteful joke. The author shows the consequences that immorality has. He does this throw portraying the damaging repercussions that come from immorality.
One of the major examples in the book that depicts the negative influences that immoral behavior can have on other people is shown by the actions that are undertaken by the Duke and the King. The schemes that these two individuals have caused there to be irreparable damages to the people as well as the towns that these two individuals traversed as can be seen in the novel. When these two not only posed as missionaries but also collected donations from those individuals who went to church, Huck is able to bear witness to the damage that is inflicted upon the people in that town due to the scheme that the two plotted and carried out. The resultant effect that the author shows from this is that Huck shows and feels empathy with the people as he realizes immorality has great irreparable repercussions. This is only learned from the journey that he undertakes.
In sum, the author shows the importance of every human journey. The physical journey that Huckleberry goes through is able to transform him through making him a more upright and moral individual who feels empathy towards other people and forges friendships with those he would have considered unequal to him before undertaking this journey. Notably, the author centrally focuses on the physical dimensions of the journey while imposing the inner influences that this journey had in providing teachings that could only be earned and learned through journeying. Huck was able to learn so many lessons not only about equality but also about treating individuals for what they are, who they are, rather than for their outside appearances. Finally, it is important to understand that the beginning of this novel, as well as its end, bears no significance whatsoever to the physical and nonphysical journey that Huck among other characters in the book have to undergo to learn significant life lessons that the rest of the nation is ignorant to such as slavery.
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A theme that is very present in the book Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is lies and false appearances. Huck the main character need to find out what is happening on shore, I done it. She loved me all over with her little shinny eyes Sarah Williams”’ (55). Huck needs to find information about himself and if people are still looking for Jim. His only option to ho find out without any one recognizing him is dressing up as a girl.
But through all these lies Huck doesn’t know who he is anymore. Jim and Huck mean two con artist that trick them The king got out an old ratty deck of cards(128). The king came out of no where they have no idea that this man is not who he says he is. He is trying to use Jim and Hucks kindness to his own self enjoyment. This really does hurt Huck and Jim in the long run not knowing who these mans real identities are. The book has many of these lies to keep readers on edge and to make the characters think a question everything in the joinery of freedom.
In the book Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain a theme that is constantly seen due to the time period is Slavery and Racism. The time period is in south United States which is a very place of slavery and a whole lot of it. Huck wants to get Jims family back to him, would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson and then they would both work to buy the two children (92). The fact that he has to buy his children back and steal his wife shows how the times are.
He was going to be sent away from his family so he ran away to make sure he can stay. He had to sacrifice so much. Huck has to help miss lead hunters for some other run away slaves, Well, there???s five niggers run off tonight up yonder, above the head of the bend. Is your man white or black?(93). The language that is used was okay to say during the time because it was a common word. But now in our society it is offensive due to what the meaning of the word has towards black people of America. This book teaches lessons about everything.