Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn depicts how he is a racist. He shows it in many ways in which his characters act. All of the people in the towns are slave owners, and treat black slaves with disrespect. In the time period of the novel slavery was not legal, but racism was. Many scenes in his novel make slaves look like fools. Mark Twain does this purposely to make colored people look and sound like fools, because he is a racist person. Before even getting to chapter, one Mark Twain puts a notice on the book.
Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot” (Twain, 2). Twain uses this to show people how he is as a person. If you go against him, you may be prosecuted, banished or even shot. This most likely is because he was a racist and needed power. If slaves were to go against him, they will lose. Mark Twain uses these words to build himself up, and make himself sound like a more powerful person. Mark Twain uses characters that are very similar to him as a person.
Huck’s father, Pap, is a person like Twain. Pap is a drunken man that is very temperamental. He tells Huck of all the things that Pap feels is nonsense. Pap is always trying to be a powerful figure in Huck’s life. Mark Twain probably uses Pap in the book to show readers that he is the same type of person. Twain uses this book to show that he is racist person, and used Pap to show that he is a power thirsty person as well. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book that was made to degrade the black population of America. Jim, a runaway slave, meets up with Huck after he runs away from Pap.
When Jim and Huck see each other, Jim drops to his knees pleading Huck not to turn him in, or hurt him. Mark Twain does this to show that when a black slave and a white person meet the slave should drop to their knees before the white person. He must feel that when a colored person approaches him they should bow towards him, because he feels he is a better person. Some of the words that Mark Twain uses are intended solely to offend colored people. He constantly is using the word “nigger. This word is a horrible word for a black person to hear. That is what they are called and to a white person like Twain, a nigger is lower than dirt.
He uses this word as often as he can. This word hurt many of the slaves, and colored people years ago. Mark Twain was a very intelligent person, because he knew that if he used it during a racist period it would hurt the colored readers. It would also hurt colored readers many years later. This was probably his main reason for using the word as often as he could. James S. Leonard, who wrote a criticism about Mark Twain’s book, says “And though society’s highest praise for his action is that he is a `good nigger,’ Huck has his own formulation: Jim is `white inside. (Leonard, 146)
He is saying that Mark Twain will only allow Jim, who is a good person, to be a good nigger. Huck sees Jim as a person with a colored covering. Twain doesn’t want to write about people seeing Jim as a colored person with a white mans heart. He wants to see Jim as a slave who is just a good nigger. Twain thinks about everything that he can do to make black people sound horrible. Mark Twain does not only try to harp on the African American race, but he does the French as well. Huck and Jim wonder why Frenchmen talk funny.
The reader knows it is their accent, but Twain does this to just put a little tease in against the French readers. Mark Twain, who is not French, decides that he is no a Frenchman so why not make fun of the way that they talk. If people are not like him then he is against them. The French people will be an easy target, because they bring along their French dialect to the English language. Twain wrote his novel to show all of the problems that other people have, and not to show his own. As Huck and Jim are talking about the way Frenchmen talk, Huck says that it is natural and right for cats and cows to talk differently from each other.
Natural and right can be thought of in many different ways. There is no real natural and right type of person in the real world. In Mark Twain’s world there is. He is the natural and right person. He believes that everything he does the correct thing to do. Twain may also believe that racism is the correct thing to do as well. Racism was what Mark Twain was brought up into, wrote about, and lived by. After arguing about the differences of cats and cows, Huck gives up. He says, “You can’t learn a nigger to argue” (Twain, 77). Instead of arguing with Jim about how cats and cows speak Huck just gives up.
Huck realizes that Jim thinks that English is the only language spoken. When Jim receives this new information about another language, he is overwhelmed. Instead of trying to understand, he just tells Huck that there is no possible way that there can be another language. Huck understands that Jim does not understand him, so Huck just gives up. Mark Twain uses this conversation to show how illiterate Jim really is. He shows the readers that Jim is so foolish that he doesn’t even know there are other languages other than English. Twain uses Jim for this because he was a runaway slave.
Since most of the slaves in that time were illiterate, Twain tries to use that against colored people in later years. Later in The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn Huck and Jim meet up with two men who call themselves the Duke and the Dauphin. These two men stroll up and down the Mississippi River looking for towns that they can perform for and scam the people out of their money. The Duke and Dauphin recite lines from three of Shakespeare’s plays. They combined parts of the plays together. They find a town that has a circus and it is there last show.
The Duke and Dauphin decide to go into this town and scam the people with their play. They call their play the “Royal Nonesuch” (Twain, 133). The play is formed into three parts, Romeo and Juliet, King Richard’s sword fight, and Hamlet’s Immoral Soliloquy. The Duke and Dauphin just about ruin the play. Mark Twain brings Shakespeare’s plays into his book, because Shakespeare is another person that Twain can tease. Twain uses these plays because they are some of Shakespeare’s most know. He gets the Duke and Dauphin to totally ruin the parts of the plays.
The Duke and Dauphin are the only two characters in all three plays, so they would not have been very good in the first place. They only did a little piece of each play, because they were the only parts they knew. Mark Twain wrote his book like this to make William Shakespeare’s plays look foolish. Twain does not understand Shakespeare’s plays so he decides they do not make any sense. If things don’t make sense to Mark Twain then they should be destroyed. Twain tried to destroy the plays, so he would look like a better person.
If people read Twain’s book and see that Shakespeare’s plays can be teased that easily then they may think that Shakespeare isn’t as good of a person as Mark Twain. In chapter, thirty-two of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there is a boating accident. Huck’s Aunt Sally asks if anyone was hurt. Huck then replied, “No’m. Killed a nigger” (Twain, 213). Aunt Sally then said, “Well, its lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt”(Twain, 213). All of the characters in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn don’t really seem to care about colored people.
It doesn’t matter what happens not a single person cares. Mark Twain really hits the slaves on this part. With putting this piece in Twain is just saying, no one cares about you. When people here someone died, they are worried, but when it is a black person, they could care less. Twain just does this to show that the only people that care about blacks is themselves. When Aunt Sally said its lucky no one got hurt it is like saying that blacks were not even people back then. Many of the people just saw blacks as animals and don’t show the slightest bit of respect towards them.
Mark Twain probably wrote this part, because he was a racist and he felt that blacks were animals. By writing this it made him feel better about himself because he was degrading the colored people. Mark Twain uses the same part of the book to show another way that blacks were treated. Through most of the book, Huck and Jim seem to have been getting along. They seemed to have made a friendship during their time on the river. This friendship has not changed Huck’s feelings towards blacks one bit. When his Aunt Sally asked him if anyone got hurt and he replied, “No’m.
Killed a nigger,” it showed the readers that Huck has not gained any respect towards blacks. Jim and Huck have been together and Huck gets along fine with Jim. He seems to like him and respect him, but when it comes to another black, Huck still feels the same way he did when the book started. This is in the book to show readers that even after a friendship with a black person, whites still feel that they are better then blacks. The book really shows how whites used blacks. Jim was used by Huck, because Huck did not care one bit about blacks, but he did when it was a benefit to him.
Mark Twain thought he was better than all of the blacks, so he wasn’t going to let Huck and Jim’s relationship with each other change how is white characters feel about blacks. Throughout the entire book, Jim’s dialect has been very poor. Huck’s is not the best, but it is much better than Jim’s is. Whenever Jim speaks it is hard to understand, because Mark Twain wrote it to be so poorly that he can barely be understood. The reason behind this is to make Jim look like a fool. Twain wants the readers to see that he is illiterate, like most blacks were in this time.
Huck has a Mississippi accent, and he is not the best speaker, but when Jim is speaking, it is all broken up and slang. Mark Twain shows people that blacks were never as smart as whites, by making his black characters look stupid. He has probably felt that his entire life, and would never understand that there are people better than he is, and may be black. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written to mainly show how life was in the southern states, and the purpose of life. Mark Twain got a little out of hand when he started to constantly try to build himself up.
A very racist man who did everything he could to make other people seem foolish, Mark Twain wasn’t only racist to blacks, but all types of groups. It is a hard decision to make, if he is racist or if he just lacks self-esteem. Whatever it may be, Mark Twain wrote his book to show how he feels about racism. It could be that he just is a person that needs to be the best and feels that no one is a good as him, but Mark Twain’s book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one that shows how he really feels about blacks and other minorities.