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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn 2 Essay, Research Paper
The Satire of Slavery
There it is: it doesn t make any difference who we are or what we are, there s always somebody to look down on! Somebody to hold in light esteem, somebody to be indifferent about. Mark Twain (1835 1910), U.S. author. Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes, ch. 15 (written 1905; published in Which Was the Dream? ed. by John S. Tuckey, 1967). This quote says that people will always feel superior to some one different. The reason for this is that it makes people feel important and better about themselves. Slavery derived from this belief in superiority. Mark Twain, author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn uses satire as a literary technique to present his ideals on slavery within his period of time. Satire is a method of taking a serious issue and representing it in a humorous way. The Author uses Huck s relationship with Jim, societies attitude towards Jim during their travel up the Mississippi River, and the use of racist terminology throughout the novel. Mark Twain s use of satire in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn enables the reader to better understand his message of slavery.
First, Huck s relationship with Jim shows the authors views on slavery. Huck was taught at home and in school that slavery was a part of the natural order. He never found anything wrong with the way slaves were treated. In the beginning of Huck and Jim s journey Huck treats Jim in a prejudice manor (according to our standards) in the way that Jim is different from him. When we was ready to shove off we was a quarter of a mile below the island, and it was pretty broad day; so I made Jim Lay down in the canoe and cover up with a quilt, because if he set up people could tell he was a nigger a
good ways off (Twain 58). This shows that Huck incorrectly assumes that people can spot a black person from far away. At this point he still holds the belief that blacks are different from whites. Through their travels up the river Huck begins to realize how good of a friend Jim is and that Jim is not inferior to Him. After the event with the King and the Duke with the Wilks, Huck is glad to see Jim Of course when they got to snoring we had a long gabble, and I told Jim everything (Twain 188). This shows that Huck sees Jim as a friend not just a nigger . Huck s view on Jim changes throughout the novel. Originally he sees Jim as everyone else sees him, but through certain events he changes his belief and looks at Jim a sees someone equal.
Second, society s attitude towards Jim during their travel shows how people looked down upon slaves. Twain shows that Jim should have a better life than to be separated from his wife and children he loves, and to be forced to work for people who humiliate him. Through the ridicule that Jim faces the author conveys the idea that whites are superior to blacks. The people that they come in contact see nothing more than a servant when they look at Jim. The Grangerford s symbolize the typical wealthy southern family of that time, Each person had their own nigger to wait on them-Buck too .Buck s was on the jump most of the time (Twain) 109. This shows that everyone in a family no matter what age would have a servant at which they could control. This was wrong because it should children at an early age that it is okay to do this. People at that time treated servants terribly. They were not considered humans they were lower, How is servants treated in England? Do they treat em better n we treat our niggers?
No! A servant ain t nobody there. They treat them worse than dogs (Twain 181). This shows how ignorant people were, they treated people that were different (slaves) worse than dogs.
Finally, the use of racist terminology throughout the book showed how Jim and slaves were treated. This terminology is used in order to show how racist people were at that period of time. Some think old Finn done it himself But before night they changed around and judged it was done by a runaway nigger named Jim (Twain 84). This uses language that reveals the way people looked at Jim. Huck himself was racist when Miss Watson asks if anybody got hurt and Huck replies No ma am just a nigger (Twain 34). At times the author might criticize white people s actions, but he never categorizes them like using the term nigger . This term today is extremely offensive to many people especially when used. During the authors time it was unusual for a white person not to use this term in describing African Americans. So by using this terminology the novel has more of a realistic approach because during that time the word nigger was a part of life and Twain wanted to change that.
Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain treats this serious matter in a humorous way. By ridiculing a fault in society such as slavery and racism, he entertains his readers while telling them what is wrong in society. Through his use of satire, Twain illustrates the major themes of the novel. He gives his readers a clear perspective on the evils of slaver and racism.
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