Theme Of Racism In Huckleberry Finn

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Mark Twain’s novel, Huckleberry Finn, is the tale of a boy from antebellum Missouri who left the comforts of civilized society and ran off with a fugitive slave to the Free States. Twain wrote this piece not long after the Civil War’s end; however he set it before the war to fully illustrate one of his major themes. The American perception of race before the War, and especially in the south, was blurred by many flawed biases. Mark Twain illustrated this theme throughout his work, with his main point being that nobody in this time and place was free from the effects of racism. Even his most sympathetic white characters found it completely natural to regard blacks differently, for the racist preconceptions were everywhere and they permeated and changed the thinking of everyone in their path. Twain best demonstrated this theme through the interactions of others with his main black character, Jim. Jim was a slave owned by the widow who cared for Huck during the first part of the book. The widow was apparently a kind mistress and promised Jim that she would never sell him to the slave traders in New Orleans. However Jim overheard her one night saying that she planned do to just that, which is what prompted him to run away early on (Twain at 43). This interaction shows just how little many people thought of blacks at the time, since even a promise to a black person was apparently worthless. It was also during this part of the book when Huckleberry, who previously ran away on the Mississippi River, met Jim again and promised not to expose him. However even Huck, a friend of the slave, was worried that locals would regard him as a “low-down abolitionist” for harboring the fugitive. The man and boy then decided to sail the river by night and hide during the day to avoid Jim’s capture. Yet there were occasions when Huckleberry was willing to disassociate himself
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