The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel that will continue to be read for many years to come. Why? This novel has many themes that relate to society today and also did when it was written. There is still talk about whether this book should be read amongst students because society still deals with racism, and this book effecting African Americans. Ever since its publication in 1885, it has been subject to controversy. Is this book a racist book? I believe it is not racist.
Mark Twain has been accused of being a racist writer, to black readers, represents trashy slave era hackneyed image and hould not be on bookshelves or read in schools. Some people believe that this book isnt racist. For some people it clearly touches a nerve. But I think you need to look back at history. First off Ernest Hemingway called this the starting point of all American literature. At a forum this year by The Mark Twain House, a publisher Lewis Lapham said You cant judge history by the light of today. You have to understand what was going on in 1867. Then Twain House executive director John Boyer said Twains stock is irony.
Like any complex idea, if you dont get t, youll never appreciate the punch line. The author of The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn, Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua argues that Twains novel, in the tradition of all great literature, is invaluable for transporting readers to a time, place, and conflict primary to understanding who we are today. Without this work, a he argues, there would be a hole in American History and a blank page in the history of African Americans. She also shows how Twain has created not another Uncle Tom but a worthy man of honesty and independence.
Jim and ther black characters in this book demands a re-envisioning of the southern slave. This novel, she states, ultimately questions readers thought of what freedom means and what it costs. Racism is an apparent connection to todays society. In this novel there are over two-hundred times the word nigger was used. In one scene Aunt Sally hears a steamboat explosion. Good gracious! anybody hurt? she asks. Nom, comes the answer. Killed a nigger. Aunt Sally later refers to the nigger as if they are not even a person, regarding death as if it did not even matter.
Mark Twain is using casual dialogue ronically, as a way to underscore the chilling truth about the old south, to drive the point the lady continues. Then she said Well, its lucky because sometimes people do get hurt. I do agree there a lot of racist sounding phrases, but its there for a anti-racist purpose. Huck Finn talks to Jim the same way many white people in 1885 talked to a black person. The racism is because the time period it was written. Without the racism, the book would lose a lot of its meaning. After you read the rest of the book its clear that Huck is an anti-racist.
He starting ut believing that slavery was a part of society and part of natural order. But then he wrestles with has conscience, ad when the crucial moment comes he decides he will be damned to the flames of hell rather than betraying his black friend. And Jim, as Twain presents him as the moral center of the book, a man of courage and nobility, who risks his life and freedom for the sake of his friend Huck. If this book is taught it could open students eyes to the racial tension that ignorance causes. I dont believe that this book would cause any student to attain racist beliefs or attitude.