The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain highlights the racist and white supremacist beliefs in the South during the 1800s. The story is told through the eyes of an adolescent boy, Huckleberry, who embarks on an adventure with Jim, a runaway slave. During their adventure, Huck undergoes internal conflict when his own personal morals don 't match those of the society in which he lives. The characters he meets are all product of their society. Tom Sawyer, who thrives for adventure, reoccurs in the beginning and at the end of the book; he illustrates civilized society and Twain uses him to satirize the Romantics.
I think that chapter 31 is the most pivotal chapter in the novel because it is the chapter that Huckleberry Finn becomes more confident in himself. Huck ends up separated from his friend Jim do to the fact of the bandits they got mingled up with. After getting away from the bandits he finds out that they sold Jim back into slavery and now he has to come up with a way to get him back. The fact that he wanted to send a letter to Miss. Watson to see if she could get him back herself but the sound of that made him the one who help Jim escape in the first place.
Jim is held behind the Phelps’ house in a shack, and is set to be freed by Tom and Huck. Huck wants to free Jim as soon as possible, while Tom believes that Huck’s plan is “Too blame’ simple” and “There ain’t nothing to it. What’s the good of a plan that ain’t no more trouble than that?” (235) The reader does not yet know that Jim is a free man due to his owner’s death, but Tom is well aware. Tom’s refusal to tell Huck the truth at this point is misleading to Huck and Jim, and the only person benefitting is Tom: thirsty for a fantastic escape story. On the surface, this part of the novel is only a display of a child--Tom--wanting to have some dumb fun with a person he doesn’t perceive as human.
However, Huck doesn’t let society define him because he is amoral. He is not going to listen to what anyone has to say to him and he is going to help his friends. When Huck is hiding Jim, there comes a time when two slave catchers ask if there are any slaves on board. Huck is able to convince them there is only his sick father on board. In reality, Jim is hiding in the bedroom.
During the course of the story, Huck conflicts on whether to turn Jim in or not, due to the fact it is morally wrong to help a runaway slave. Huck thinks about Miss Watson and how he is betraying her by helping Jim escape. Huck encounters slave catchers and he is internally whether to tell about Jim but decides not to and says, “They went and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, because I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it warn’t no use for me to try to learn to do right; a body that don’t get started right when he’s little ain’t got no show -- when the pinch comes there ain’t nothing to back him up and keep him to his work, and so he gets beat” (Twain 102). Then later in the novel Jim is sold by some con men for $40 which upsets Huck and causes him to realize he cares about Jim and says, “All right, then I’ll GO to hell” (Twain 225). Huck is defying society’s laws by deciding to help captured Jim.
He understands that there is prejudice in the society against black people and that even though he tried his best, he could lose the case since he had not seen a jury deciding in favor of a black man. He understands the facts of life but stays committed to the truth. He knows that he would have to appeal jury 's decision in case Tom Robinson is found guilty. In the next stanza, Kipling points out that in life when you lose everything, you must be also willing to forget about your loss. He advises that you will need to keep your "Will" alive in the most challenging circumstances even though you feel that you are physically and emotionally beaten.
Although President Lincoln abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the existence of slavery still continued to play a factor during the 1880s when freed slaves tried to assimilate into society. Now, a question arises how is Mark Twain’s use of the “n-word” relevant to the existence of slavery? Twain wanted to depict the evilness of slavery and how it impacted the freed slaves even after they gained freedom and rights. By using the “N-word,” Twain reminds his
He learns that the master isn’t just going to let you off the hook, you have to stick up for yourself. The slave claims he was taken from his homeland and friends only to work all day in the hot sun, a valid point that the master considers. The slave pretty much calls the master a robber and compares him to one. Douglass may learn where he came from, well “my own country” isn’t exactly where he came from, but it’s better to know that than nothing at all. Slave owners in the South may teach this to their children so that their slaves do not try to escape and make arguments like this.
He has relatives that own several slaves and “was a boy that was respectable, and well brung up” (242). It can be inferred that he sees African-Americans the way the South would perceive them—inferiors. He does not see it as inherently wrong for no one would tell him otherwise and that he is not granted with any personal interaction with them like Huck had. Therefore, it can’t be concluded that Tom deliberately committed a crime against Jim’s humanity as Zimbardo stated. He didn’t know any better than any child would in this situation; he is merely acting the way he was brought up within a Southern society, in which they do think of blacks as property, hence, they pay no mind to how their actions would affect the latter’s psyche.
For example, as Huck reminisces his feats with Jim he says, “and for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that too” (214). Huck holds onto Jim as a father figure who accepted and cared from him when others did not accept who he was. The civilized world robbed Jim of his freedom and Huck realized that skin and race do not translate into love, companionship, and friendship. Racism is not a playing factor in this story in fact it is anti-racism that leads the two most unlikely individuals to become friends. In addition, Ralph Waldo Ellison once said, "Huckleberry Finn knew, as did Mark Twain, that Jim was not only a slave but a human being and a symbol of humanity... and in freeing Jim.
. A single word from the white men was enough-against all our wishes, prayers, and entreaties-to sunder forever the dearest friends, dearest kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings” (Douglass, 59). By splitting up families and friends, the slaveholders were making sure that the slaves didn’t have any family nor friends to create a bond with. They would separate families when the children are born, and move the mother to a different plantation to try and stop the slaves to have bonds. But, when Frederick went to live with Mr. Freeland, he created bonds with the other slaves.
Even though Jim works hard day after day for the white, Mrs.Watson decides to sell him for profit. Jim overhears Mrs.Watson talking to another slave owner who would take Jim away, separating him from his family. As a result, Jim decides to escape before Mrs.Watson could sell him to another owner. Wanting to take responsibility for his wife and children, Jim escapes.