Racism On Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn English Literature Essay

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, foremost published in 1884. The text mainly trades with Huckleberry Finn and Jim ‘s river trip. In the beginning of the text, there is a warning notice, which states that “ Persons trying to happen a motivation in this narrative will be prosecuted ; individuals trying to happen a moral in it will be banished ; individuals trying to happen a secret plan in it will be shot ” ( Twain 2 ) . Of class, the narrative can be merely considered as Huck and Jim ‘s exciting escapade. However, despite the warning notice, it is necessary to happen a motivation, a moral, and a secret plan in the narrative because a white male child and a black slave ‘s river trip seems to hold intended but concealed significances.

Actually, it was at the terminal of the Reconstruction period following the Civil War that Twain began to compose Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ( Lee 151 ) . That is, about 10 old ages had passed since the emancipation of slaves. However, in malice of this epoch-making event, there was really small alteration in the rights of black people. Furthermore, southern Whites continued to command the liberated slaves by doing a new jurisprudence such as Jim Crow. So, Twain ‘s taking the clip when bondage existed as the scene of the text could non assist arousing contention over racism. Harmonizing to Jung, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was badly criticized and even got awful reputes of “ racial rubbish ” because of looks like “ nigga ” and Jim ‘s clown-like character ; there were besides opposite positions that the text satirized the race issues ( Jung 157 ) .

Obviously in the text, whites including Huck and Jim stand in the relation of maestro and retainer ; favoritism against Jim is described merely as it is and this seems improbable to be easy changed. Furthermore, it is true that Jim ‘s character is like ignorant, buffoonish, and obedient black which reminds us of folk singer show of the 19th century. In visible radiation of these, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn appears non to get the better of racial bias. However, Huck and Jim ‘s relationship is besides similar comrades ; Huck sometimes puts Jim ‘s safety before the societal system, bondage. Furthermore, Jim is described as more family-oriented, thoughtful, loyal, and faithful than Whites. Sing these, reverse to the above-named premise, the text seems to demo the possibility of rapprochement between the two races. So, it is rather hard to asseverate Adventures of Huckleberry Finn shows either restriction or possibility of the race issues.

However, if we understand the earnestness of bondage, this ambivalent attack is sensible in some ways. In the 19th century, bondage in the United States of America functioned as non merely a jurisprudence but besides a paradigm. That is, bondage was connected with all parts of the state ; most members of society regarded it as either natural or ineluctable. Furthermore, bondage implicitly allowed proprietors to command slaves violently ; this system perverted both personalities and caused amoral state of affairs among people. In short, bondage was the force doing the society move back and Forth ; that was why favoritism against inkinesss lasted for a long clip in malice of the emancipation of slaves. Therefore, it was besides impossible for the white writer, Twain, to acquire out of white-oriented values although he might mean to satirise the world and demo the possibility of the race issues.

Of class, taking one place from the statements about racism of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be meaningful. However, racism is a complex affair ; sing the fact that racism has still been a hot issue up to this twenty-four hours, taking a expression at both restriction and possibility of racism of the text can be more meaningful. Furthermore, for the elaborate but systematic comparing, the following analysis based on three standards will be helpful: the relationship between Whites including Huck and Jim, the person in bondage system, Jim ‘s character.


2.1 The Relationship Between Whites Including Huck and Jim: Vertical or Horizontal


As noted above, the narrative in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is developed along with Huck and Jim ‘s river trip. They go down the Mississippi river on a raft and travel through an exciting event together. However, they besides have to digest a unsafe state of affairs because of Jim ‘s position. A white male child, Huck, begins to go to acquire out of his milieus such as the widow Douglas and her sister ‘s limitation and his male parent ‘s force. On the other manus, a black adult male, Jim, chooses the trip to liberate himself from bondage. That is, the intent of Huck ‘s trip is different from that of Jim ‘s ; Jim must travel to the topographic points where bondage does non be like Cairo. So, Huck and Jim make up one’s mind to travel from St. Petersburg to Cairo, but they pass it due to a dense fog. To Jim, nil may be more of import than his freedom. Of class, it is true that the river current is rather fast and the raft flies through the H2O, but it is besides true that there are several opportunities for Jim himself to travel to another topographic point to acquire his freedom. If Jim unfeignedly wanted to be a free adult male, he would move independently of Huck. For illustration, in the 16th chapter, the raft is smashed by a steamboat, which separates Jim from Huck ; unluckily Huck goes to the town where bondage exists. Obviously, judging from what he says in the 18th chapter, Jim has the raft and can travel to seek his autonomy, but he does non. Alternatively, he follows Huck, stays in concealing in the forests, and delaies for him.

I knowed you ‘s in de house, so I struck out for de forests to wait for twenty-four hours. Early in de mawnin ‘ some er de niggas come along, gwyne to de Fieldss, en dey tuck me en showed me dis topographic point. . . Tells me how you ‘s a gitt’n along. . . Well, ‘twar n’t no utilize to ‘sturb you, Huck, Tell we could make sumfn. ( Twain 103 )

Huck neither orders Jim to move like a Huck ‘s slave nor asks Jim for aid. It is non Huck but Miss Watson that has ownership of Jim. Of class, Jim ‘s action may arise from a fellow feeling because Jim and Huck portion a valuable experience in joy or sorrow. However, Jim ‘s attitude seems to be a slave ‘s one instead than a chap ‘s. Decidedly, Jim has a clear and ultimate end of freedom ; he has to accomplish it to untangle his left household from bondage no affair what happens to him. Jim truly does non necessitate to make that. So, Jim ‘s action like waiting and following without vacillation is based on the perpendicular relationship between a white and a black under the bondage system.

Furthermore, from the 34th chapter, Jim appears to be a Huck and Tom Sawyer ‘s plaything. Jim satisfies two white male childs ‘ pathetic demands even though his freedom is right around the corner. For illustration, Jim eats nutrient containing tools for flight and slumbers with rats, serpents, and spiders. Of class, Jim knows that these programs are absurd and even makes ailments about the programs, but this is merely impermanent. He merely accepts two white male child ‘s suggestions and does as he is told although Jim is non Huck and Tom ‘s legal slave and even older than them. Furthermore, what is worse, Tom already knows Jim has been emancipated by Miss Watson ‘s will, but he takes advantage of Jim ‘s anxiousness and yearning for freedom. Tom is interested in merely his escapade. Unbound Jim does non necessitate to be emancipated once more. Therefore, an episode related to Jim ‘s flight shows both Jim ‘s obeisance as a black slave and Whites ‘ perceptual experience of one. Besides, Tom ‘s misrepresentation on Jim and Jim ‘s suffering state of affairs reflect the world of uninterrupted favoritisms against inkinesss in malice of the emancipation of slaves.


Huck does non attach to Jim in the beginning of the trip because he merely escapes from his milieus. His male parent, Pap, has abused him and even kept him from traveling school ; Huck is no better than a orphan. Of class, the widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson has protected Huck, but he feels uncomfortable even though they show their compassion to him. The widow Douglas and Miss Watson want him to be a civilised adult male. They patronize him foremost and last ; this is non in harmoniousness with his nature. In other words, Huck gets to cognize how to separate something good from something bad but does non experience true love from them. So, Huck devises a strategy and make-believes to be murdered and so thrown into the river to be free from the milieus curtailing him. Furthermore, even when he notices villagers try to happen him, he does non expose himself to them.

However, in the 8th chapter, when Huck meets Jim by opportunity on the Jackson ‘s Island, his attitude towards Jim is different from that towards villagers. He shows himself to Jim alternatively of concealing himself and so expresses his pleasance because he does non experience lonely any longer. Furthermore, in the 11th chapter, Huck suggests go forthing from the Jackson ‘s Island together to Jim after he knows people are about to see the Island shortly, saying “ There ai n’t a minute to lose. They ‘re after us ” ( Twain 58 ) . Clearly, Huck uses the word, non I and you but we, which originates from a fellow feeling. So, sing Huck ‘s action, Huck has a sense of intimacy with Jim and even depends on him.

Furthermore, Jim besides sometimes expresses his sentiment to Huck non as a runaway slave but as a comrade. Particularly, in the fifteenth chapter, Jim scolds Huck because although they have a near-death experience in a dense fog, Huck still fools Jim and lies to him. Finally, Huck regrets his errors after listening to Jim ‘s heartfelt advice.

‘When I wake up en mulct you back once more ‘ , all safe en soun ‘ , de cryings come en I could a got down on my articulatio genuss en buss ‘ yo ‘ pes I ‘s so grateful. En all you wuz thinkin ’bout wuz how you could do a sap uv ole JIm wid a prevarication. Dat truck dash is trash ; en rubbish is what people is dat puts soil on de caput Er dey fren ‘s nut makes ’em ashamed. ‘ It made me experience so average I could about snog his pes to acquire him to take it back. It was 15 proceedingss before I could work myself up to travel and humble myself to a nigga — – but I done it, and war n’t of all time sorry for it afterwards, neither. I did n’t make him no more average fast ones, and I would n’t done that one if I ‘d a knowed it would do him experience that manner. ( Twain 80 )

Of class, the widow Douglas and Miss Watson has taught Huck a sense of right and incorrect, but they can non do him alter. Huck feels an aversion to it instead. However, it is Jim that makes him unfeignedly realize that one should be honest and moral and alteration. Therefore, Jim ‘s keeping fast to his position and Huck ‘s accepting the thought and so acknowledging his mistake shows the horizontal relationship good. Besides, their relationship looks like comrades.

The manner to get the better of racism starts at acknowledging all work forces are equal regardless of race and develops when a fellow feeling is shared. If the belief that some races are inferior to others is rampant, affairs caused by racism can non be easy overcome. So, from the above-named illustrations, we can happen a positive possibility of non the perpendicular relationship but the horizontal 1 between inkinesss and Whites.

2.2 The Individual in Slavery System: Unchangeable or Mutable


In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the blunt perceptual experience of slaves is described. For case, in the 6th chapter, Huck ‘s male parent expresses his deep aversion towards Ohio where bondage is abolished. Stating that inkinesss ‘ holding the right to vote is perfectly absurd, he criticizes inkinesss and the emancipation of slaves badly. As Huck ‘s male parent respects inkinesss as belongingss and thinks purchasing and selling inkinesss is natural, it is hard for him to understand the provinces like Ohio where inkinesss are respected as single human existences. Furthermore, Pap shows Huck his hatred towards inkinesss ; the adolescent Huck ‘s perceptual experience of inkinesss can non assist being influenced by his male parent. So, the value system based on favoritism against inkinesss tends to travel down from the old coevals to the following 1, going more detailed and complex.

Actually, Jim is one of the victims in bondage. Jim ‘s proprietor, Miss Watson, decides to sell him for eight hundred dollars and tells her program to the widow Douglas ; by opportunity, Jim eavesdrops at the door, which makes him get away from St. Petersburg. In this state of affairs, what is surprising is that Miss Watson is described as a devout Christian. She lives on Bible and ever wants to learn Huck a sense of right and incorrect, but she besides treats Jim like a merchandise which can be bargained. Therefore, this shows good slavery system causes amoral state of affairs among people and even control the influence of faith.

Furthermore, as Jim is a fleeting slave, he has to digest subhuman intervention. For illustration, two swindlers, who introduce themselves as the King and the Duke and so fall in Huck and Jim on the raft, do non apologetic that they tie Jim with a rope and do his face up to look like a violative lunatic. With this humiliated and curious expression, Jim has to wait for them entirely until Huck, the King, and the Duke come back from a small town because a fleeting slave, Jim, can non travel to the small town with them where bondage exists. Furthermore, while Jim is held in the plantation of Silas, he must be confined in a hut. Even, when he tries to get away from it, Aunt Sally and villagers shoot a gun and do Canis familiariss trail him. So, these rough interventions of a fleeting slave may beef up the bondage system.

However, what is more surprising is that Huck ‘s perceptual experience of inkinesss is non changed wholly even though he has accompanied Jim for a long clip. When the King sells Jim for 40 dollars, Huck begins to seek Jim, stating the Duke that Jim is the lone belongings for him. Besides, when Aunt Sally asks Huck if his trip has been safe or non, Huck replies that cipher was hurt, but a nigga died ( Twain 199 ) . Judging from his vocalization, he still thinks of Jim as a slave. Furthermore, his uninterrupted utilizing the look, nigga, shows his attitude towards Jim. Actually, from the beginning of the text, the look, nigga, is used really often by Whites including Huck. Harmonizing to Suh, the word that refers to inkinesss has been changed and a nigga is a merchandise of bondage system ( Suh 52 ) . Obviously, this word makes Jim and other inkinesss feel humiliated. Therefore, the state of affairs that happens in the text shows non merely the person in bondage can non assist being influenced by the societal system, but besides people can non be easy changed although the societal system can be changed.


In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there are scenes which show humanity wins a societal jurisprudence, bondage. For case, in the 16th chapter, when Jim expresses his yearning for traveling to Cairo to be free from the life as a slave, Huck feels really dying. Huck worries about events yet to go on because if Jim becomes a free adult male, he will be responsible for it. Huck thinks he would instead decease than unrecorded in this torment ; he seems to be unable to acquire out of societal norm. After all, he decides to inform on Jim every bit shortly as he reaches land. However, when a skiff with two work forces in it comes, Huck protects Jim wittily, stating them the other who joins him is a white. Of class, after they go away, Huck realizes he has done incorrect and so feels bad ; he even consoles himself with the fact that he does non larn to make right. However, it is an undeniable fact that his determination originates from a good bosom.

Furthermore, Huck ‘s struggle between Jim and society happens once more. In the 31st chapter, Huck gets to cognize that the King sells Jim for 40 dollars ; he thinks it would be better if Jim is sent to St. Petersburg instead than corsets in the plantation of Silas. Besides, his repute to come, God ‘s Providence, and lessons from school bother Huck. So, he decides to compose a missive to Miss Watson to inform on Jim and do her return him over to her house. However, Huck fails to complete composing the missive because the memory related Jim on the raft trip crosses his head.

And got to believing over our trip down the river ; and I see Jim before m, all the clip. . . and make everything he could believe of for me, and how good he ever was ; and at last I struck the clip I saved him by stating the work forces we had smallpox on board, and he was so thankful, and said I was the best friend old Jim of all time had in the universe, the merely 1 he ‘s got now ; and so I happened to look around, see that paper. . . ‘All right, so, I ‘ll travel to hell ‘ ( Twain 193 )

Huck ‘s determination of traveling to hell instead than informing on Jim is more valuable than of all time. Hell in his vocalization means interrupting societal regulations and traveling against his ain scruples. Actually, it is impossible to populate wholly apart from society. As Huck was born and has been raised in a southern province of America, he has no pick but to be influenced by bondage. So, it is non easy for Huck to make the determination although he is a rebellious adolescent and even wants to fly from civilised civilization. Individual normally seems to be incapacitated against the power of society and the societal system appears non to be easy changed. However, Huck eventually puts Jim before the societal system, bondage ; ironically, he chooses non to travel to hell. Therefore, from these Huck ‘s brave determinations, we can see an appropriate illustration that single determination based on humanity wins a societal norm. Furthermore, it is of import to cognize that single members can make a impulsive force that moves society and so do a better state of affairs.

2.3 Jim ‘s Fictional character: Inferior or Superior


Blacks ‘ characters in a text frequently arouse a contention. Even, if an writer is a white, the contention tends to flame up up. Jim ‘s character in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is merely the instance. Harmonizing to Marx, Jim is deliberately fabricated character and has an image of obedient black buffoon ( Marx 341 ) . Jim ‘s clownish, superstitious, nescient, and obedient character gives us the feeling that something is exaggerated.

In the 2nd chapter, Tom takes off Jim ‘s chapeau and bents it on a limb, but as Jim is drunk with slumber, he does non detect it. After waking up, Jim thinks that he is bewitched by enchantresss ; he begins to tout about it. Blacks come stat mis to hear Jim ‘s narrative and they looks up him and see Jim as a miracle adult male. Furthermore, whenever Jim tells it to other inkinesss, he spreads it more and has a inclination to oversell himself like a buffoon.

Besides, Jim appears to be enchained by superstitious notion ; his ignorance is magnified. Jim knows most sorts of superstitious notion, particularly related bad fortune. He ever acts on this superstitious notion ; if a state of affairs derives from his belief, he feels truly nervous. For case, Jim thinks of touching a serpent ‘s skim with custodies is the worst in the universe ; in the tenth chapter, Huck does so and kills a serpent. What is worse, by chance Jim is bitten on his mortise joint by another serpent. While Huck thinks he himself causes this state of affairs, Jim wholly depends on superstitious notion related to a serpent. Even Jim loses his caput, drinks to a great extent, and cries.

Furthermore, Jim seldom or ne’er goes against Whites ‘ wants. Although Whites ‘ demands are excessively pathetic, he obeys their will. When the King and the Duke tie him with a rope, Jim endures being tied for a twosome of yearss. When they even do his face to look like a violative lunatic, Jim pretends to be the lunatic instead. Besides, as mentioned above, Jim ‘s emancipation comes right around the corner and he notices two white adolescents ‘ program is absurd, but Jim satisfies their adventuresome spirit. Huck and Tom are neither an grownup nor Jim ‘s proprietor.

Jim he could n’t see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed we was white folks and knowed better than him ; so he was satisfied, and said he would make it all merely as Tom said. ( Twain 223 )

Jim is eventually emancipated and gets free. However, from buffoonish, superstitious, nescient, and obedient Jim, it is hard to anticipate a new image taking a alteration for the inkinesss ‘ rights. Of class, Jim has besides been in a southern province of America ; he is obliged to move like that. However, if Jim does non alter himself, his freedom may be a affair of no great import because he should get the better of non merely slavery system but besides perceptual experience towards inkinesss.


In malice of unfavorable judgment about Jim ‘s character, Jim is sometimes described as superior to Whites in the text. Smith stresses Jim ‘s moral high quality, mentioning the illustration that Huck protects Jim from bondage due to Jim ‘s humanity ( Smith 8 ) . Jim is family-oriented, thoughtful, and faithful. This aspect gives whites a refreshing jar and even makes them alteration.

Contrary to Huck ‘s male parent, Jim shows his fondness towards his household. In the beginning of the river trip, Huck does non understand slaves ‘ household spirit. He has non experienced a true relationship as a household ; he thinks it is natural for slave household to populate scattered. So, when Jim says his hereafter program that he wants to purchase his married woman and kids and so populate together, Huck comes up with the old expression, ‘give a nigga an inch and he ‘ll take an ell. ‘ However, in the 23rd chapter, when Jim groans, mourns, and Tells Huck his girl, Huck feels empathy. Even Huck describes Jim cares his household every bit much as Whites and this seem to be natural. Through the trip, he gets to cognize Jim is a good individual. Furthermore, Jim guards the raft alternatively of Huck and allow Huck travel to kip. As Jim has kids and Huck is immature male child, he may see Huck as boy. So, Jim ‘s family-oriented and thoughtful head mellows Huck ‘s bosom more and more.

Jim besides shows his religion even though he is placed in a hard state of affairs. Particularly in the fortieth chapter, Tom takes a slug in the procedure of assisting Jim ‘s flight. In some ways, Tom puts himself in danger. As Tom wants the escapade to be more exciting, he makes the program for flight complicated and even unsafe. When Jim, Huck, and Tom run off from the hut, villagers chase them ferociously, hiting a gun. So, Tom can non throw the full incrimination on Jim or Huck. However, Jim portions the duty volitionally.

Well, lair, Dis is de manner it look to me, Huck. Ef it wuz him dat ‘uz bein ‘ sot free, en one Er de boys wuz to git shooting, would he state, ‘Go on nut save me, nemmine ’bout a physician f’r to salvage dis one? ‘ Is digital audiotapes like Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he state dat? You bet he would n’t! Well, lair, is Jim gwyne to state it? No, sah — — -I doan ‘ Budge a measure out’n dis topographic point, ‘dout a physician ; non if it ‘s 40 twelvemonth! ‘ ( Twain 247 )

Huck goes to a small town to inquire a physician for aid ; Jim waits for Huck and the physician with Tom. Jim chooses to set Tom ‘s safety before his freedom. After all, the physician comes to the raft, but he wants some aid because there is excessively much work for him to manage. So, Jim hidden in the forests gets out and assists him to salvage Tom. However, in malice of Jim ‘s forfeit, the physician locks him up and hands him over to Aunt Sally. Furthermore, the physician says a nigga like Jim is worth a thousand dollars. That is, the physician respects Jim as belongings, no more, no lupus erythematosus. Therefore, judging from this scene, Jim shows moral high quality to Whites.


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn merely seems to cover with Huckleberry Finn and Jim ‘s river trip but involves intended but concealed significances. As Twain write Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at the terminal of the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, a white male child and a black slave ‘s trip down the Mississippi river on a raft could non but provoke contention over racism.

The relationship between Whites including Huck and Jim seems to be both perpendicular and horizontal ; the person in bondage system is either unchangeable or mutable ; Jim ‘s character is both inferior and superior to Whites. Sing these ambivalent illustrations, the text shows the restriction and the possibility of rapprochement between the two races. So, it is rather hard to asseverate Adventures of Huckleberry Finn shows either restriction or possibility.

However, if we understand the person can non be separated from a societal system, this ambivalent attack seems to be natural. It is impossible to populate wholly apart from society. As we were born and have been raised in a society, we have no pick but to be influenced by a societal norm such as bondage. However, we should interrupt away from the hobbles because it is we that make the hobbles. Racism has still been a hot murphy up to this twenty-four hours. So, taking a expression at both restriction and possibility of racism of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be meaningful.

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