Huck desires to break free from the constraints of society, both physical and mental, while Jim is fleeing a life of literal enslavement.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Racism and Slavery Although Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, America—and especially the South—was still struggling with racism and the aftereffects of slavery.
By the early s, Reconstruction, the plan to put the United States back together after the war and integrate freed slaves into society, had hit shaky ground, although it had not yet failed outright.
As Twain worked on his novel, race relations, which seemed to be on a positive path in the years following the Civil War, once again became strained.
The imposition of Jim Crow laws, designed to limit the power of blacks in the South in a variety of indirect ways, brought the beginning of a new, insidious effort to oppress.
The new racism of the South, less institutionalized and monolithic, was also more difficult to combat. Slavery could be outlawed, but when white Southerners enacted racist laws or policies under a professed motive of self-defense against newly freed blacks, far fewer people, Northern or Southern, saw the act as immoral and rushed to combat it.
Although Twain wrote the novel after slavery was abolished, he set it several decades earlier, when slavery was still a fact of life. Just as slavery places the noble and moral Jim under the control of white society, no matter how degraded that white society may be, so too did the insidious racism that arose near the end of Reconstruction oppress black men for illogical and hypocritical reasons.
In Huckleberry Finn, Twain, by exposing the hypocrisy of slavery, demonstrates how racism distorts the oppressors as much as it does those who are oppressed.
As a poor, uneducated boy, for all intents and purposes an orphan, Huck distrusts the morals and precepts of the society that treats him as an outcast and fails to protect him from abuse. This apprehension about society, and his growing relationship with Jim, lead Huck to question many of the teachings that he has received, especially regarding race and slavery.
Huck bases these decisions on his experiences, his own sense of logic, and what his developing conscience tells him. Through deep introspection, he comes to his own conclusions, unaffected by the accepted—and often hypocritical—rules and values of Southern culture.
His moral development is sharply contrasted to the character of Tom Sawyer, who is influenced by a bizarre mix of adventure novels and Sunday-school teachings, which he combines to justify his outrageous and potentially harmful escapades. Throughout the novel, Twain depicts the society that surrounds Huck as little more than a collection of degraded rules and precepts that defy logic.
This faulty logic appears early in the novel, when the new judge in town allows Pap to keep custody of Huck.
Again and again, Huck encounters individuals who seem good—Sally Phelps, for example—but who Twain takes care to show are prejudiced slave-owners.In this lesson, we will continue our exploration of Mark Twain's most acclaimed work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, through an analysis of plot, characters, and theme.
Literary Devices in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Picaresque Structure: Once Jim and Huck escape on the raft, the novel takes on an episodic structure that follows their visits to various places along the Mississippi River.
Racial and Religious Hypocrisy in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’s many themes: social hypocrisy. The novel features contribution to American awareness of racial and religious hypocrisy.
Mark Twain Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) was born . Plot analysis. The plot of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of two characters’ attempts to emancipate initiativeblog.com desires to break free from the constraints of society, both physical and mental, while Jim is fleeing a life of literal enslavement.
"Mark Twain's humor is deadpan at its best, and Huckleberry Finn is his funniest book. The novel draws on techniques from all three stages of his career, from his early slap-stick tales of the Wild West to his savage satires of the Gilded Age.".
Plot analysis. The plot of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of two characters’ attempts to emancipate initiativeblog.com desires to break free from the constraints of society, both physical and mental, while Jim is fleeing a life of literal enslavement.