What Huckleberry Finn Can Teach America

Posted: July 12, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Mark Twain’s classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, has become a controversial issue throughout the American education systems. There is much controversy over whether the novel should be taught in American high schools. Some believe that the novel promotes racial attitudes, while others see it as a good depiction of life in the 1800s. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be taught in American High Schools because it is a good example of inter-racial relationships.

In the novel, Huckleberry Finn comes in contact with many different types of people. In the story he dealt with violent and uneducated characters like his father, as well as welcoming and generous characters like the Phelps. Throughout the novel Huck formed relationships with the different types of people that he met on his journey. When Huck befriends such a diverse group of people, he demonstrates a way to overlook the prejudices that exist in the world. Twain allows readers to get to know the characters of his novel. Their good and bad qualities are displayed quite equally. Despite the fact that the novel was written in a time of great racial discrimination, and despite the existing prejudices that are acknowledged, Twain’s writing style discriminates against no particular group.

The relationship Huck forms with Jim is one of the strongest in the novel. Jim is a run-away slave who goes along on Huck’s adventures, in hope of gaining his freedom. At that point in time it was considered morally wrong to help out a run-away slave. Huck felt otherwise, and began to view Jim as a real person. As the story continued more insight is displayed regarding Jim’s life and feelings. Jim, who tended to show great amounts of compassion and concern for Huck, became Huck’s friend. Positive results stemmed from their friendship. Not once in the novel did Twain suggest that befriending Jim caused any harm for Huck. Huck took great risks for Jim, and those risks merely demonstrated the loyalty that strings from friendship.

The relationship between Huck and Jim sets a good example for all of America. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be taught in American high schools as an example of inter-racial relations. One can only hope to find a friend as loyal and devoted as Jim. Huck’s heart led him into the decisions that he made. He disregarded what he had been taught as right from wrong, and aided Jim to freedom to the best of his ability. By giving Huck that characteristic, Twain showed his readers that the best decisions are not always the most popular. Little lessons such as this one can be read between the lines of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After reading this classic, the American student should find it easier to read between the lines, and see beyond racial discriminations.

 

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