Racism In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1437 words - 6 pages

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, events throughout the novel suggest that Huck is a racist to Jim, Miss Watson’s runaway slave, whether he knows it or not. Despite the fact that Huck travels with Jim, he does not care about freeing Jim from slavery. As a result, Twain’s purpose is more focused on the adventures Huck and Jim experience rather than freeing Jim.
Throughout the novel, Huck travels with Jim although he never has a plan to free him. First off, Huck runs away from his Pap, and Jim runs away from Miss Watson, who tries to sell Jim as slave. They meet on Jackson’s Island and spend some time there on the island but when a search team is sent to look for Huck, the pair heads south for a long novel of aimless travel. Upon their travels, Jim and Huck encounter two criminals, who both claim to be of some royalty (one a king, the other a duke). In their first encounter, the King and the Duke ask Huck if Jim is a runaway he says “Goodness sakes! Would a runaway nigger run south?” (113). When Huck says this lie to the King and the Duke, he is showing he has no intentions of freeing Jim. This is because if Huck did have intentions of freeing Jim, Huck would lead Jim north to a slave free state, especially since Missouri borders Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Kansas, all of which were free territories. Not to mention conditions only get worse for slaves the further south they went. Second of all, later in the novel, the King and the Duke sell Jim back into slavery. At this point, Huck can no longer deal with the two criminals, so he abandons them. Huck is upset that Jim is gone, so he decides that he must come up with a plan and free Jim. Huck eventually finds out where Jim is, which just happens to be at Tom Sawyer’s Aunt Sally’s farm. Huck then re-encounters Tom, he agrees to help Huck free Jim, because he sees adventure in the process. When Huck and Tom attempt to free Jim, they run away aimlessly with no plan of where they are going. If Huck actually thought the plan through and legitimately cared about freeing Jim, he would have thought of a more elaborate plan. All Huck did was write letters claiming to have stolen Jim, and he made a rope ladder for Jim. A Huckleberry Finn critic named Julius Lester, also questions if Huck has any intent of freeing Jim. In his writing he points out what he believes some flaws are in the novel including the fact that Huck and Jim travel south instead of north. He wrote “Yet Twain wants us not only to believe he didn’t but to accept as credible that a runaway would drift down south the Mississippi River.”. Here, Lester is reiterating the point that Huck does not care about freeing Jim because he goes on and touches upon how the readers must disregard intelligence to believe that a runaway slave would head south deeper into slave country. Had Huck cared at all about freeing Jim, he would have obviously headed north. Instead, Huck wants to embark on an adventure, putting Jim’s safety on the line in the...

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