Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Literary Analysis

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In a society clinging to the cushion of political correctness, to be faced with a novel so offensive, so brash, so seemingly racist in the classroom was initially jarring. At first, I was opposed to the concept of having to read the word “nigger” and discuss it as if it was just any antiquated term; it seemed impossible. However, through my reading of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, I began to understand the value of my discomfort. A tenant of Jesuit education, personal growth is necessary for one to grow into an intellectual, whole human being. For one to grow, they must step outside their comfort zone and become uncomfortable. Thus, this is the value of Mark Twain 's novel— its ability to spark discomfort in its reader. The…show more content…
The portrayal of Jim has been criticized by many as rude and comical; however, these criticisms only examine his face value. Jim, despite his status as the butt of many jokes, proves to be an intelligent, morally grounded friend and father figure to Huck. Jim, unlike Col. Grangerford, is not gilded, but golden. The content of Jim’s words draws sharp contrast to his discombobulated speech. Upon discovering Huck on the island, Jim is relieved to see him. “It 's too good for true, honey, it 's too good for true. Lemme look at you chile, lemme feel o ' you. (Twain 53)”. Despite Huck’s constant teasing and mild abuse, Jim exhibits unconditional kindness towards Huck. Jim also proves to be a father figure, disciplining Huck and protecting him from seeing Pap dead in the floating house. He is not clueless and loving like a dog; in fact, Jim is one of the most intellectually and emotionally consistent and whole characters in the novel. Huck’s inability to express his care for Jim further reflects the stigmas held toward interracial relationships in the South and the flawed nature of the narrator, Huck. Jim and Huck’s existence on the raft provides a refuge from society, from the chains that bind Jim and separate him from Huck. This unique connection across age, race, and status seen in the…show more content…
The terror dealt at the hands of this novel is widespread. Students like Toni Morrison, picking it up as adolescents, innocent virgins to the horrors it contained, were shocked and shaken after reading it, instilled with “palpable alarm (Morrison 385).” The shame black students felt just by hearing their classmates snicker at the word “nigger” and the dread evoked by its appearance, is shameful and reveals Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’s dependent nature. It depends upon a teacher who can truly grasp and project the book onto their students. It depends upon students who are educated and mature enough to understand the book’s true meaning. It also depends on the reader to truly listen to what the novel has to say. If these requirements are met, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an irreplaceable, monumental novel that deserves its place in the classroom. As said by Morrison herself, “Huckleberry Finn, chosen randomly without guidance or recommendation, was deeply disturbing (Morrison 385).” When a student works with Huckleberry Finn in an adept classroom (one that maintains the level of maturity and intelligent insight to truly understand the novel), it prevents them from reading it alone and being unaware of its true meaning. It prevents them from being appalled at the seemingly crude and shallow novel, and allows them to experience it for what it truly is: a
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