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Huckleberry Finn Why It Should Stay In School

2161 words - 9 pages

Bryant Becker
Ms. McGinn
AP English 11
8 March 2010
The School is Mightier Than the Pen
Ok, I think I’m finally ready to write this essay. All my blinds are closed; all my doors locked. I’m not sure what will happen when I do this but here goes nothing. Nigger. There, I said it. The word that caused everything from killings to suicides. The word, which can alienate people immediately, even if you were best friends with them before. The word that can cause American masterpieces like Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn banned from high school curriculums and censored in libraries. Yet, isn’t it just a word? I just said it and I didn’t hear any explosions go off, no angry mobs ...view middle of the document...

I says I'll never vote agin.” (Twain, 38) This is Twain showing the “connection between Pap’s crude behavior and his racist beliefs.” ( It is a perfect example of Twain using a hated character to portray racism in a bad light. This isn’t the only time Twain uses hated characters to portray racism: he does the same with the Duke and the Dauphin. These two are fakes throughout the entire story, making them easy targets for hatred. Not only do they lie to stay on the raft with Huck and Jim, they cause pain and anger everywhere they land. Like Pap, both of the men are extreme racists. First we see the Duke’s racism when Huck steals the inherence money, which the Duke and Dauphin had taken from the unsuspecting Wilks sisters. The Duke, instead of suspecting Huck, immediately believes the boy when he tells him one of the slaves probably took it. His racism really shows when he rationalizes his suspicion of the slaves by asking, “Do you reckon a nigger can run across money and not borrow some of it?" (Twain, 172). Not to be left out is the Dauphin, who also shows his blatant racism over the stolen money. He chastises Huck because “any fool would a KNOWED something was up” if he “see the niggers come out of his [the Dauphin’s] room acting that way.” (Twain, 180) All these characters are Twain showing the hypocrisy of whites in the novel. All of them are in a society which “which displays blacks as being dim, sluggish and worthless, when they are the ones acting that way.” ( Twain does this to stir the anger of the audience against the racists in the story and racists in general.
After looking at the side characters for racism, it’s important to look at the character that attracts the most attention from those who are searching for racism: Huckleberry Finn. There are many arguments that Huck is a racist character. Some say that Huck doesn’t see Jim as a human, with human feelings. There are two signifigant examples of this: first, after getting separated in a bad fog, Huck finds Jim sleeping on the raft. As a joke, he pretends that they never separated, not realizing that Jim had been panicking. Huck, as Leslie Gregory says, “is surprised at Jim’s capacity to possess such strong, ‘human’ feelings.” ( She points out that Huck was so surprised, that it took “fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger.” He figures out that Jim was a human and says that “I wouldn't done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way.” (Twain, 91) The next big moral decision that Huck has to make regards Jim’s freedom. Huck realizes that by southern traditions that Jim is property and therefore taking him was stealing. If it is stealing, then he has violated one of the Ten Commandments and will go to Hell. So he starts to write a letter home for someone to come get Jim so he...

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