Huckleberry Finn Literary Analysis: Mark Twain’s Exploration of Racism, Freedom, and the American Dream

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Mark Twain's brilliant novel Huckleberry Finn he provides great insight into classic American culture. The book elaborates on how life was truly like for Southern slaves during the late 1800s. A young boy named Huckleberry Finn was forced to leave his hometown along the Mississippi river after his alcoholic father has been missing for months came back into town and kidnapped him from his Aunt Polly, his guardian caretaker, and Jim the African American slave who wasn't allowed to live within the household . Finn, seeing that his father was not fit to take care of him and not wanting to go live under his Aunts rules, he fakes his own creative death as if he had drowned in a nearby lake. He then proceeds down the Mississippi river running from a past that he does not want to take part of, escaping his Aunt and his Father. Here Huck begins his adventure for a new life on the flow of the Mississippi River and a quest for the American Dream accompanied by Jim a now runaway slave.

Huckleberry Finn was a wealthy thirteen year old boy who came by a fortune of six thousand dollars. This money was luckily acquired by him and his best friend Tom Sawyer. Huck and Tom came by this money when robbers hid the stolen money in a nearby cave where crooks unknowingly left it for Huck and Toms taking. Today that money would be worth an estimated one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Yet Huckleberry never enjoyed living a wealthy and civilized lifestyle. He preferred the simpler things in life and wasn't shy of causing a mess or a ruckus. His ideal fantasy was barbaric yet gratifying. Huck dreamed of a future where he was to do as he pleased. He enjoyed hunting, smoking his pipe in solitude, and not paying attention to the time. He liked things this way. In search of this new dream, Huck befriends a slave named Jim who had previously lived with His Aunt Polly and the Widow. Jim was a dull un educated man who had unusual beliefs. He believed a talking fur ball of yak hair could tell anyone their future and what was destined to come. Turns out, Jim was looking for a new life as well. Jim had been framed for Huck's death and was being hunted and was to be killed if he was found. Huck and Jim started down the river, as the flow of a new life began. Huck relates to any twenty first century thirteen year old boy who strives for the norms of freedom from his parents, society, school and common manners. This gives the reader something everyone can relate to, freedom.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a novel that incorporates racism and explains that everyone should be viewed as equals. Twain tries to explain that if everyone has the opportunity to have the humble and simple point of view Huck portrays in the book, then this world would seem a little less colorless. This was a dangerous message to be writing about durings the eighteen hundreds and was not looked upon lightly. In The New York Times Archive, Norman Mailer points out that, “This new novelist had managed to give us a character of no comfortable measurable dimension. It is easy for characters in modern novels to seem more vivid than classics, but even so, Huckleberry seemed to be more alive than Don Quixote and Julian Sorel, as naturally near to his own mind as we are to ours”. Mark Twain was light years ahead in equality and showed us that

what Huck desired is what everyone desired as well, freedom to choose. This book was written to show that anyone with courage and a persistent optimistic attitude can achieve a dream. A dream where you have a second chance to start from the bottom and the only way from the bottom is up is, ’the American Dream’. Anybody who reads this book will enjoy the satirizing highbrow humor Twain portrays in the novel. It has been criticized and banned from most libraries and school curriculums for this same reason, In The Huffington Post, Reagan McMahon suggests that, “Books are often banned for Religious or Political reasons: An idea, a scene, or a character in a book offends their religion, sense of morality, or a political review.” In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain delivers on all of these points of criticism. An adult black man in the company of a young white boy, making jokes of Christianity, ridiculing the government, and the freedom of African Americans are the satirical points being made. A huge controversy is also over its language. Twain commonly uses derogatory and outdated terms for slaves and people of colored skin as well as common Southern slang. “Modern Curriculums and libraries have edited these slurs with atrid marks to protect our kids from the past and better the present”, notes James Lileks in NC Wise Owls National Review.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a work of literature that should be read with humor and sincerity. Each sentence was highly thought out and put in place for a purpose. It shows how anyone can achieve the ‘American dream’ and shows how people truly feel about rules and responsibility. He addresses the stigma of race by showing the friendship between Huck And Jim. Twain breaks this stigma of conformity simply by titling the book The Adventure. He suggests that wealth and happiness do not always hold hands. He expresses that race and freedom also do not go hand in hand, but the ‘American Dream’ maybe shared between a slave and a young man by something as simple as a handshake.

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Huckleberry Finn Literary Analysis: Mark Twain's Exploration of Racism, Freedom, and the American Dream. (2019, May 13). Retrieved June 24, 2024 , from

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