Ever since the human race has appeared on Earth, they have been striving to become superior to everything else, including other groups of humans. To this day, the power struggle continues. However, during a period of time in the 19th and 20th centuries, one race assumed the superior position, or so they thought. These groups of people were white supremacists who believed that they were above all other human races. Society itself, at this time, believed that these white people were superior to dark-skinned people and so, they enslaved them.
Most people followed what society and everyone else thought and went along with this thinking. The characters in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were such people that followed the crowd. They have no mind or morality of their own; only a mob mentality. Their idea of success was to be well off as long as it was not a black person who was doing well. However, to truly be a moral and successful person, one must sometimes ascend above the rules of society and refuse to follow the crowd. The way that white racists put down blacks, of any stature, is demeaning to not only the blacks, but also to the whites.
They prove to everyone that they are inferior in their struggle to become superior. Twains character ,Pap, is a drunk, poor, uneducated person. At one time, he saw a black professor from the North who was very successful and was able to vote. Pap complained about the black professor for a long, saying how terrible it was to have someone like that exist. He also complained about the government for letting him vote and also for letting the black professor stay free in the South until he stayed in that state for six months, after which he could be caught and sold in an auction.
Pap then refused to vote anymore because the government let a black person vote. And that aint the wust. They said he could vote when he was at home. Well that let me out It was lection, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warnt too drunk to get there, but when they told me there was a state in this country that let a nigger vote, I drawed out. (p27) Pap made a big idiot of himself by doing this. He would not have even been able to vote even if he was able to go there since he probably could not read the ballots anyway.
Not only does he not know that he is making things worse in this situation, he believes that he is helping by not voting, which actually enhances the black professors voting power. Another character ,Tom Sawyer, also proved that he was racist, but he was quite different from Pap. He follows societys views about blacks, like Pap does, but he also lives in his own imaginary world which will get him nowhere in life. Tom has no mind of his own. Whenever he is faced with any type of situation, Tom applies something that he read in a book.
However, he is also very racist against blacks. When he found his friend Jim, a runaway slave, at his aunt and uncles house he tells one of the slaves there that they should hang Jim. I wonder if Uncle Silas is going to hang this nigger. If I was to catch a nigger that was ungrateful enough to run away, I wouldnt give him up, Id hang him. (p237) Tom feels that Jim should be hanged for running away even though he is Toms friend. Because Tom does not think on his own and just follows everything that he hears and reads he will not get anywhere in life nor will he be successful.
Huckleberry Finn, unlike the two characters mentioned before, was on the verge of understanding the morality of having slaves. He freed himself from the thinking of society in two different occasions and helped his friend, Jim, run away. However, since he was brought up by the ideas set by that society, he felt terrible about doing it. When Huck actually sat down to think about it, he found that he could not turn Jim over to the authorities. Although he felt that it was wrong for him to help Jim, he decided that he would do it regardless of what everyone else thought.
The first incident in which Huck did this was when he and Jim thought that they had found Cairo. Huck was excited to go ashore so he could turn Jim in but once Jim started telling Huck that he was the best and only friend that he had, Huck could not bring himself to tell some people that came by. Instead, he lied to those men and when they left, Huck felt that he had done something terrible and felt very bad. They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, because I knowed very well I had done wrong (p91). Huckleberry found that the more he thought about turning Jim in, the more he found himself unable to do it.
Once I said to myself it would be a thousand times better for Jim to be a slave at home where his family was (p212). Huck thought about writing a letter to Miss Watson, Jims former owner, about where Jim was but after he finished it, he thought about all that happened between him and Jim. He felt terrible about it, but he tore up the letter and decided to help Jim. Alright, then, Ill go to hell, and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again (p214.
Huck was doing the right thing in both cases and was being a good person morally but he felt incredibly bad about doing it since he was brought up to think in the opposite way. However, by following what his heart told him to do instead of following what society had taught him, Huck had surpassed the racism of the society and had become a moral person. All the characters shown from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn showed that they were all very racist and unmoral people because they didnt think for themselves.
They were racist because the society said so, and they never bothered to question or to explore the reason themselves. The only person that came close to a moral person was Huck but he did not know that he was right in doing what he did. Malcom Xs joke showed how the black professor in Paps case could be successful. What does a white racists call a black professor? Nigger (Malcom Xs quote) In both the quote and in Paps case, the black professor was a successful person. Obviously any black person would have been criticized and made fun of for even trying to become a professor.
However, by ignoring what was being said to them, as well as what the crowd and society thought, both these blacks had overcome the obstacles and became successful people. Just because everybody thinks that something is right does not always mean that it is right. Sometimes, people must question what society has put before them. By doing this, one may see that the majority is wrong. People may see that they might have to think for themselves instead of following the crowd because others told them to. In doing so, one can change the error in his or her ways and turn back toward the light, rather than walking further into the darkness.