Though Huck and Jim bond throughout their journey, Huck struggles to overcome the way he was raised and see Jim as a person capable of feelings and emotions.Throughout his journey down the Mississippi, Huck is faced with challenges where he must decide Jim's fate, but as his bond with Jim grows stronger, he begins to "unlearn" the racist views he was taught and see Jim as a human being.Tags: Why Choose Nursing EssayConstruction Helper Cover LetterSai Baba Problem SolvingSoccer Research PaperWriting Paper With Picture SpaceEssay On Pillars Of IslamAssigned Schools
These two problems pose real obstacles for teachers. Indeed, part of what makes the book so effective is the fact that Huck is too innocent and ignorant to understand what's wrong with his society and what's right about his own transgressive behavior. One must be skeptical about most of what Huck says in order to hear what Twain is saying.
In a 1991 interview, Ralph Ellison suggested that critics who condemn Twain for the portrait of Jim that we get in the book forget that "one also has to look at the teller of the tale, and realize that you are getting a black man, an adult, seen through the condescending eyes -- partially -- of a young white boy." Are you saying, I asked Ellison, "that those critics are making the same old mistake of confusing the narrator with the author?
It was a book, as many critics have observed, that served as a Declaration of Independence from the genteel English novel tradition.
Huckleberry Finn allowed a different kind of writing to happen: a clean, crisp, no-nonsense, earthy vernacular kind of writing that jumped off the printed page with unprecedented immediacy and energy; it was a book that talked.
If we lived in a world in which racism had been eliminated generations before, teaching Huck Finn would be a piece of cake. The difficulties we have teaching this book reflect the difficulties we continue to confront in our classrooms and our nation.
As educators, it is incumbent upon us to teach our students to decode irony, to understand history, and to be repulsed by racism and bigotry wherever they find it. It's unfair to force one novel to bear the burden -- alone -- of addressing these issues and solving these problems. By the time he wrote Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens had come to believe not only that slavery was a horrendous wrong, but that white Americans owed black Americans some form of "reparations" for it.One graphic way to demonstrate this fact to your students is to share with them the letter Twain wrote to the Dean of the Yale Law School in 1885, in which he explained why he wanted to pay the expenses of Warner Mc Guinn, one of the first black law students at Yale.Neither is placing the task of dealing with it on one book. But they don't require you to look the perpetrators of that evil in the eye and find yourself looking at a kind, gentle, good-hearted Aunt Sally.We continue to live, as a nation, in the shadow of racism while being simultaneously committed, on paper, to principles of equality. They don't make you understand that it was not the villains who made the system work, but the ordinary folks, the good folks, the folks, who did nothing more than fail to question the set of circumstances that surrounded them, who failed to judge that evil as evil and who deluded themselves into thinking they were doing good, earning safe passage for themselves into heaven.The Old South deformed the consciences of the people living there, making them blind to the inhumanity of slavery.Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" tells the story of Huck Finn, a young boy, who finds friendship in a runaway slave named Jim, despite his own racist background.By 1885, when the book was published, Samuel Clemens held views that were very different from those he ascribed to Huck.It might be helpful at this point to chart for your students the growth of the author's developing moral awareness on the subject of race and racism -- starting with some of his writings on the persecution of the Chinese in San Francisco (such as Disgraceful Persecution of a Boy), then moving through his marriage into an abolitionist family, the 1869 anti-lynching editorial that he published in The Buffalo Express entitled Only a Nigger, and his exposure to figures like Frederick Douglass and his father-in-law, Jervis Langdon.Huck, who grew up playing tricks on others with Tom Sawyer, realizes for the first time that African-American slaves are capable of feeling pain, and he learns that true friends do not try to hurt each other.For example, Huck tries to play a prank on Jim, not expecting his serious reaction.