The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Cindy Hall THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN In the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, also known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, uses several major themes. The book is primarily about racism. Some of the other topics are freedom, bondage, religion, and society versus the individual(Grant 2758). Twain also uses a variety of colorful vernacular dialects. The book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been criticized from the time of its publication to today. Mark Twain has been seriously accused by some readers of being a racist writer,(Salwen 1).
Twain uses the N word over two hundred times in this novel. To sundry black readers Twains writings are offensive and called trash. Mark Twain implies within the book that black people are not as smart or intelligent as white people are. Most black readers believe this book should not be read in any school under the college level. It has been removed off the reading list for numerous elementary schools.
Most of the teachers requesting this book to still be taught are white. Their argument for this novel to stay in the schools is that it shows how society has bettered itself. These teachers say if you teacher slavery, you have to use the language they used(Wallace 116). Some readers and writers believe this book is the best book ever written. For example Ernest Hemingway quotes all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn… All American writing comes from that.
There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since(Zwick 1). Like Hemingway others believe Mark Twain is the finest humorist and meaningful novelists there ever was. Mark Twain does not just describe the scenes, but gives you a clear vivid image. During each scene on the raft Twain makes you feel like you are floating along the river with Jim and Huck. Some parts of the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that have been called racist are when Aunt Sally and Huck are talking about the accident on the steamboat. Aunt Sally says Good gracious! Anybody hurt? Huck says Nom, Killed a nigger.
And then Aunt Sally says Well its lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt (Salwen 1). That is not racist, it is simply how blacks were thought of during the pre-Civil War period. When Twain wrote this book, people did not think of a black person as anything put property. Twain does not mean to offend anyone. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn gives a positive view of blacks. For example the Nazi party, the Ku Klux Klan, and the White Citizens Council see an antislavery, antiracist message (Wallace 119). They all say this book is not racist, because Huck is helping a slave escape.
If Mark Twain were racist, he would not have Huck helping Jim, but Huck turning Jim in as a runaway slave. Some readers believe Mark Twain is putting Jim down during the most of the novel, but anyone can see through Huck Finn that Jim was treated as a decent human being and not a slave. During the entire course of the book Twain had great feelings for the black slave, Jim. Huck and Jim are both searching for freedom. While searching for their freedom they form a bond with each other.
Jim helps Huck escape from the Widow Douglass and Pap. Both Huck and Jim feel free when they are on the raft together. Freedom exists neither in the North nor the South, but in the ideal and idyllic world of the raft and river(Grant 2758). While on the raft, race does not matter and that is when they form their love for each other. Huckleberry Finn begins to look at Jim like the father he never had, and Jim begins to look at Huck as his best friend.
Huck battles with his conscience over whether or not to turn Jim in as a runaway slave(Twain 92). Without question Huck accepts what he has been taught by church and society about slavery. Huck knows helping a runaway slave is morally and illegally wrong. Other words by helping a slave escape Huck is breaking one of societys most biggest laws at that time. Huck finally decides to go to Hell rather than give up his black friend Jim (Twain 95).
Some readers are sometimes offended by Mark Twains writing about religion. The Widow Douglass tried teaching Huck about Moses and the Bulrushers, but he said he was not interested, because it was not her kin and it happen too long ago. She also told him about the bad place, which he said, I wish I was there(Twain 10), and then the Widow got mad. She told Huck about the good place, too and that he had to be good to go there (Twain 10). Huck did not see an advantage so he decided he would not try for it.
The Widow told Huck he should pray everyday and he would get whatever he prayed for. Huck tried this and it did not work. He said he reckon that praying only works for people like the Widow(Grant 2758). While the Widow attempted to teach Huckleberry about religious acts she withholds salves. She also chews tobacco, which is okay, because she does it herself.
The Widow Douglass is defining Christianity. Some people believed Twain was making fun of Christianity by using this in his book, but you can plainly see that it was only part of his humorist writing style. Mark Twain uses many different dialects in this novel. In this book a number of dialects are used, to humor: the Missouri Negro dialect; the extremist form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary Pike Country dialect, and four modified varieties of this last(Twain 8). Some readers are unable to distinguish each of these dialects, and believe Twain is making all of the characters talk alike. One writer said Twain elevates the dialect of an illiterate village boy to the highest levels of poetry(Grant 2757).
Using these many different dialects make The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn significant, and keeps the reader more engaged within the book. If Mark Twain would had used Standard English an abundant amount of his meaning would not have gotten across, and some of the humor would also been lost. For example when Huckleberry and Jim were together on the raft talking about the different languages Jim says Well, den, she aint got no business to talk like either one er the yuther of em. Is a Frenchman a man? then Jim goes on to say Dad blame it, why doan he talk like a man?(Twain 84). Twain makes that argument entertaining and unique by using this southern dialect.
If Mark Twain would had use Standard English during this argument it would be monotonous. The book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been criticized since the day it was published. If the person criticizing the book really looks at it they can tell that when Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn he did not try to make it racial, or make fun of Christianity, but for humor and entertainment. There are various ways a person can view this book, and many people are looking at it wrong. Some readers will always say Huck Finn is the most awful book ever written. But if anyone really examines the work of this book closely you can plainly see it was one of the finest books ever put on paper! Bibliography Works Cited Page Bloom, Harold.
Modern Critical Views Mark Twain. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. Grant William. Huckleberry Finn. Englewood Cliffs, Salem Press: Masterplots; 1987 Magill, Frank.
Critical Survey of Long Fiction English Language Series. Salem: Salem Press, 1991. Magill, Frank. Cyclopedia of World Authors II. Pasadena, Salem Press,1989.
Salwen, Peter. Is Huck Finn a Racist Book? 19 Apr. 2000 http://marktwain.about.com/arts/marktwain/gi/dynam ic/offsite.htm?site=http://salwen.com/mtrace.html Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Amsco School Publications, Inc., 1972. Wallace, John Huckleberry Finn is Racist Trash. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1988. Zwick, Jim. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
19 Apr. 2000 http://marktwain.miningco.com/arts/marktwain/libra ry/weekly/aa980317.htm?pid=2734&cob=home Book Reports.