As, Abraham Lincoln said: “When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” Mark Twain, in his book continually criticizes the cruelty of human beings. One of the main themes that Mark Twain worked in his novel was the cruelty involved with Slavery. The life of a slave depicts that human beings are not always as benevolent as they appear to be. Twain in this novel exhibits the perfidious ways of slavery in America by ridiculing slavery’s outlandish ways. Satire is once again used to portray slavery in this novel.
It is often difficult for the common person to be individualistic by disregarding the social norms that are built so deep into society’s foundations. However, in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, the author is able to effectively exploit the dangers of these normal societal ways of thinking. Throughout the novel, Huck is able to experience the immorality of society through his adventures to the South with Jim, a runaway slave, who he help sto free. Due to his terrible upbringing, many people including Widow Douglas and Judge Thatcher try to gain custody of Huck and transform him into a civilized person, but Huck is very independent and has no interest in changing or conforming. In order to escape his abusive, drunk father Huck fakes his own death, escapes, and subsequently meets up with Jim who has just run away from his owner.
One example of this is when Huck comes into conflict with both himself and society when he is debating with himself whether he should turn Jim in and become “washed clean of sin” or to go against societies norms and not turn Jim in. After, Huck tears up a note he was going to send to Ms. Watson about Jim and decides “All right, then, I’ll go to hell—and tore it up” (214) Huck, at first, had made his action based off the standard of Ms. Watson and the cultural standard of society that slaves are looked down upon and are inferior to whites. However, as Huck spends more time with Jim, he realizes that Jim acts very similarly to whites as Jim “cared just as much for his people as white folks do.” (155) Although Huck was at first confused about how slaves could have this reaction towards their family, he eventually reckons that Jim and other slaves are like whites. Although Ms. Watson and Widow Douglas, Twains depiction of 19th century society, has made Huck’s vision of a stereotypical slaves/ African poor, Huck looks past this and sees that slaves can act like whites. Despite of Huck’s young age and lack of education, through experience Huck had looked past the cultural norm of slaves.
This can be noticed throughout the book and in the three scenes talked about before because the white characters in the book often times make irrational comments about slaves that relate to what they are doing themselves. Twain’s use of irony the scene about Huck being upset with the fact that Jim would steal his family back if he had too, shows that Huck did not think Jim should be able to and was not deserving enough to have his own family. This shows the greater truth of slavery because even though Huck likes Jim, he did not agree with Jim’s want to have a free family. The scene where the Duke, the King, and Huck are categorizing slaves as thieves, when they themselves are thieves shows the greater truth of slavery that slaves were categorized into certain types of people, even though it was not true of all slaves. The scene were Tom says that he would hang a slave if they were ungrateful and ranaway shows the greater truth of slavery that if a slave disobeyed, they deserved death.
Instead Huck designates society’s ideas and religious views unfit for him as he “knows no better”. Huck sympathizes with Jim and his goal of saving his family even while struggling to repress the views society instilled upon him. The first instance of Huck’s moral stand arises as Huck disregards his thought of returning Jim to “his rightful owner”(90) to the men on the boat. Instead he claims the boat behind him is infected with small pox. Here, Huck blatantly disregards society’s expectation of racism for the first
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a book about the racial tensions and segregation that arose in the 1930’s. The general storyline is about the main characters, Scout and Jem. At the start of the story, Jem and Scout were always discriminating against other characters, especially Boo Radley. The town was split in half due to racial segregation and Atticus Finch, their father, was a lawyer who doesn’t care who he’s representing because he’s a man of integrity and decency. Scout and Jem eventually mature and start to understand the dangers of discrimination after they see that Boo Radley is just a human and not the person that they all made him into.
Under this circumstance, this signifies that police officer treats black people with hostility. This hostility act from the police officer towards Oscar Grant reminds me of the former slavery. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass reveals the story of a slave named Demby, who was shot by his master because he was trying to escape from the torture of Mr.Gore (Chapter 4). At this point, Grant is the resemblance of Demby when he was shot. Demby was scared and afraid that he decided not to obey the slave owner because he thought that by giving up his body to the master could get him into a greater torture, thus, he decided to go against his master’s order.
In Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, Amir struggles to cope with his inaction during Hassan’s rape. Overwhelmed with guilt, Amir devises a plan to get Hassan and Ali dismissed so they would no longer be a constant reminder of all the times Hassan had protected him and his failure to do the same. The guilt of betraying Hassan burdens him for years, and even after he and Baba move to America, he carries the weight of his actions with him. However, after he accepts Rahim Khan’s request to rescue Sohrab and bring him to safety, Amir strives to leave behind the selfishness and cowardice he had previously succumbed to. Amir progressively begins to forgive himself for his injustices towards Hassan as he recognizes his evolution from a coward
Once Huck comes to the realization that he is technically committing a crime, his conscience kept saying, “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody” (109). Huck feels nothing but guilt for doing such a thing when in reality, he is just being a good friend. The law forces Huck to question his actions time and time again, to the point where he almost betrays Jim. It poisons people’s brains into believing they are above different races. Although Huck looks down upon Jim, he truly did care about him.
I was stuck”(91). Through Huck’s eyes, following white societal standards is supposed to be the good moral high ground; however, the justification of slavery confuses him. All through the novel, Huck is constantly questioning his own morals. He feels guilty for wanting to help Jim; however, he eventually acknowledges Jim’s humanity while society deems it wrong. As the audience, we know slavery is wrong.
While the change of mentality with Mrs. Auld may support Douglass’ claim that slavery was injurious to both the slaves and the slave owners, the truth of the matter was that the slaves were the ones who suffered the injurious effects that slave owners went through. Treating slaves as property affected slave owners mentally, but physically the consequence was endured by the slaves. Slave owners believed that an unmanageable slave was of no use to them as the slave owners believed that the slaves would be unhappy, “ He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but great deal of harm. It would make him discontented and unhappy” (Pg 20).
In Celia’s case, we see this truth through Virginia and Mary Newsom’s position of powerlessness. Whether they wished to assist Celia or not, Newsom’s husbandless daughters were utterly dependent upon their father (McLaurin, 32), a fact that made confronting him dangerous. The importance of this master-slave structure in Southern life, as well as the value of slavery itself, may explain the actions of the Judge presiding over Celia’s trial. By choosing to sustain the objections of the prosecution, Judge William Hall sealed the fate of Celia the slave. Had he acted against the established institution, Celia might have been spared.
Huck leaves the boat feeling guilty for thinking of turning him in, yet he’s still convinced that he has to do it, so he goes and continues on his way. He runs into two slave catchers, who ask to check the boat, which would’ve been the easiest way for Huck to turn him in. However, Huck feels obligated to protect Jim, and convinces the slave catchers that it’s his sick father in the boat, evading the capture of Jim. In this moment, Huck starts to question the ideas of society, thinking to himself, “What’s the use you learning to do the right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain 't’ no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?” (119). What he’s known to be right doesn’t seem right to him anymore, and he’s starting to question his own moral compass.
But, with that being said, they did notice when masters were kind to them or their acquaintances considering it did not happen often. An even stranger occurrence of this was when a slave actually stopped the other slaves from killing his master; “they marched on towards Mr. Rose’s resolving to kill him; but he was saved by a Negro, who having hid him and went out and pacified the others.” (Anonymous, description of the Stono Rebellion, pg. 69, left column.) All of the slaves rebelling did not find Mr. Rose deserving of his life and planned on killing him, so why was his own slave the one to save his life? This shows us the type of positive relationship that is sometimes hidden when talking about
Frederick no longer has this flexibility or “elasticity” of adjusting to where ever he is sent while staying true to his own morals and himself. The identity that he loses turns him into a slave that no different than the rest. He knows that in order to escape slavery, he must learn how to read and write; however if he no longer has this excitement and the resolve to learn, then he will never escape slavery. As Douglass says “the dark knight of slavery closed in upon me,” revealing to the reader the maliciousness of practice of slavery and why it has such a deleterious effect on the formation of slaves’ identities. By working the slaves to the point that working all day and with minimal rest is ingrained into their minds, the slaves not only lose a sense of who they are, but also become less of