A Study on Racism and Slavery in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Although Mark Twain wrote the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after the abolition of slavery in the United States, the story itself takes place before the Civil War, also known as the antebellum, when slavery was still legal and the economic foundation of the American South. This slavery and racism poses a frequent thematic idea present in the ideologies of most people during that time period. But when Mark Twain opposes this mentality in the story, what is being said about Twains opinion on this issue.

Mark Twain portrays his severe disliking for racism and slavery that was prominent during the antebellum through the characters found in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain illustrates racism and slavery as senseless and cruel through the relationship of the main protagonist, Huckleberry Finn, and a runaway slave, Jim. At the beginning of the novel, Huck is indoctrinated into believing racial stereotypes, such as African-American slaves being inferior to white people, and even admonishes himself for not returning Jim to his rightful owner after Huck runs away with him. Huck believes that he has a societal and legal obligation that he must follow, otherwise, he would be committing wrongdoing to a white person that never hurt him, something he views as a sin. However, as Huck gets to know and befriend Jim, he realizes that he and Jim are both equal human beings with powerful emotions of love and hate.

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Huck comes to recognize that Jim constantly proves himself to be a much better man than anyone Huck has encountered in his adventures.

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