Huckleberry Finn - A Racist No

There is a major argument among literary critics whether
Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is or is not a racist novel. The
question boils down to the depiction of Jim, the black slave, and to

the way he is treated by Huck and other characters. The use of the

word "nigger" is also a point raised by some critics, who feel that

Twain uses the word too much and too loosely.

Mark Twain never presents Jim in a negative light. He does not

show Jim as a drunkard, as a mean person or as a cheat. This is in

contrast to the way Huck's (white) father is depicted, whom Twain

describes using all of the above characterizations and more. We see

Jim as a good ...

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result of a lack of proper education. So the depiction of Jim is not

negative in the sense that Jim is stupid and inferior, and in this

aspect of the story clearly there is no racism intended.

It is next necessary to analyze the way white characters treat Jim

throughout the book. Note that what the author felt is not the way

most characters act around Jim, and his feelings are probably only

shown through Huck. In the South during that period, black people were

treated as less than humans, and Twain needed to portray this. The

examples of the way Jim is denigrated: by being locked up, having to

hide his face in the daytime and how he is generally derided, are

necessary for historical accuracy. So, Mark Twain had to display Jim's

treatment in this manner, even if it is not the way he felt.

Huck, however, does not treat Jim as most whites do. Huck looks at

Jim as a friend, and by the end of their journey, disagrees ...

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Huckleberry Finn - A Racist No. (2003, December 20). Retrieved May 22, 2019, from
"Huckleberry Finn - A Racist No.", 20 Dec. 2003. Web. 22 May. 2019. <>
"Huckleberry Finn - A Racist No." December 20, 2003. Accessed May 22, 2019.
"Huckleberry Finn - A Racist No." December 20, 2003. Accessed May 22, 2019.
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Added: 12/20/2003 01:43:54 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 648
Pages: 3

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