“To Be or not To Be”
In extreme cases the book, Huckleberry Finn, has been banned from some schools because of the depiction of racial tension towards Jim, the black slave, in Huckleberry Finn. This story takes place at a time where slavery was considered moral. Blacks were considered inferior to whites, but Huckleberry challenges the notion that he was raised upon. Through Huckleberry’s adventures Twain expresses his challenge towards civilization’s rules and moral code. One must read between the lines and reach for the meaning in Mark Twain’s subtle literature dialog. If one were to do this that one would realize that it is not racist, but anti-slavery. For someone to think that Twain considering the era was racist would ludicrous.
Considering that Mark Twain is a revolutionary writer and must use detail from an era to make the story unique he shouldn’t be considered racist. Their time period is set around the Civil War which was fought for abolishment of slavery. Huck to some people would be the argument for Twain’s racism, but Huck was raised from a boy by people with extreme hatred towards blacks such like Pap and Miss Watson. Even if bigotry was part of Huck’s attitude towards blacks it should be excused. Towards the end of the novel Huck encounters Aunt Sally who makes a remark towards blacks. She remarked that thank god no one was hurt but it was okay if a black person was. This is just a fine example of the extremities that Huck was raised under and the society’s views towards blacks. Twain is merely revealing the harsh truth of society in a subtle tone. It is also important to remember that Mark Twain’s description of Jim was not being racist but honest. Back in their era majority of black slaves were non-educated, ignorant, never allowed independence, and were maltreated. Twain was merely using the historical accuracy to his advantage in the novel for a heightened impact.
Since Huck is the center piece of the novel people could say that Mark Twain expressed himself through the character. They would use the fact Huck was degrading Jim. As I have said Huck was raised that way from a child, but he evolved to different beliefs. In the beginning after Huck and Jim have run away they find each other. Huck’s first step to overcoming prejudice occurs on that island. Huck feels relief that he is no longer alone and needs Jim for comfort. You start to see a bond form which never forms between man and his “property”. This may not be a gigantic step but it is a step. As the story unfold farther they form a rather special bond of needing each other which shows strong when Jim is auctioned off. He decides to save Jim which is totally unheard of for a white to do for a black. At first he challenges his views of religion whether or not he should write Miss Watson, his owner, and probably still lose Jim for good, or go for Jim himself. Huck decides that he would rather be damned to hell than lose Jim, so he tears up the note a journeys forward. Huck challenged society’s views which damns himself to “kissing boot heels” or humiliation for helping a slave. Huck evolved from “sivilized” boy to an “unsivilized” or non-racist boy.
The society’s values and views are an important factor in this novel. They are brought out to show the horrible society which we once embraced. Huck goes through a complete metamorphosis and stops accepting their values. In a very satirizing and subtle manner Twain tell the reader not to be racist, not to advocate racism, but to challenge society’s beliefs which they accepted.