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Racism in Huckleberry Finn

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Essay title: Racism in Huckleberry Finn

Hatred from Deep Within

In 1938, millions of Germans were brainwashed and were taught to hate and kill Jews. Some of these Germans were good citizens and people. It is just that society warped their minds. America once had this problem where morality and society’s beliefs were two different things. This problem was with slavery. Until the civil war and decades after, blacks were less than citizens and servants. It was commonly accepted and expected to turn in a runaway slave or to treat a black person like a farm animal. Because of this, racism came about society. It became a fact that blacks were an inferior race. Mark Twain shows a time like this- a time where racism was not just in the people who owned slaves but in people who had good morals and even in the blacks themselves. He shows us that racism was not something that could be cast off. In a society with racism and slavery, even the good people still look like bad people without morals. In the book Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain shows that racism is deeper than just in the hearts of slave-owners, but actually in the depths of society- ordinary citizens, citizens with good morals, and even the blacks themselves.

Through out the book, Twain shows just how prevalent racism is through out society by depicting characters that are deeply against blacks. One thing to note first is that the word nigger is used throughout this book. This word is used as much in common as the word black is used today. First of all the word nigger is a degrading term. By making this word so common in Huckleberry Finn, Twain is showing how common this racist belief is. The utterance of this word from each character in this book shows the unconscious racism inside. The first deeply racist character in this book is Huck’s father. There is one instance where Huck’s father is even grumbling about a mixed race man. Huck’s father is not only angry that this mixed man is a professor but that he can even vote. “When they told me there was a State in this country where they'd let that nigger vote, I drawed out,” he says (VI). The father also grumbles about the man not moving out of his path just because he is a mixed race man. This racism is not only within Huck’s father. It is also in the government. The Missouri government allows a free man who has been in the state for six months, to be sold into slavery. Two other characters who are deeply racist are the Duke and the Dauphin. These two con artists defraud many blacks just to make a few quick bucks. In the incident with the Wilks’s family fortune, the Duke and the Dauphin try to sell off some slaves just to make some money. They split a slave mother and her two sons without a second thought. Aside from this incident, the con artists also sell off Jim for just 40 dollars. Huck quotes Jims predicament, “after all we'd done for them scoundrels, here it was all come to nothing, everything all busted up and ruined, because they could have the heart to serve Jim such a trick as that, and make him a slave again all his life, and amongst strangers, too, for forty dirty dollars,” (Chapter 31). Because Jim is black, he automatically gets oppressed by society. In once instance, Jim, showing great moral quality, risks being a slave again to help Tom get a doctor for his leg wound. As a result of his kindness, Jim almost gets killed. Because Jim is a slave, a mob forms to lynch him. Jim is put and chains and his neck is saved only because the locals do not want to reimburse his master for losing a slave. This shows how wide-spread racism is in society. But it does not stop there.

Mark Twain shows through many good moral characters that racism is even within the best of men. This notion is shown through Aunt Sally, a very respectable character. Aunt Sally shows good morals throughout the book. She and her husband Silas are very good people and even try to adopt Huck out of their own good wills. They even come and pray with Jim whom they have kept captive. Their only crime is conforming to society by trying to return Jim to his original master. Though Aunt Sally is a very good person, very loving to Tom and Huck, her reputation is tarnished by being a racist. In one incident, Huck explains that he was late because an engine piston blew up. When Aunt Sally asks if anyone was hurt, Huck says, “No’m. Killed a nigger,” (XXXII). Twain artfully uses satire here when Aunt Sally replies, “Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt,” (XXXII). Though Aunt Sally does not mean to be racist, it is just her unconscious behavior. Whether

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