Racism In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn

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Henry Anatole Grunwald once said, “Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.” It is true that journalism can never be silent and this is cited as its great virtue, but also its greatest fault. A prime example of this is Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. Huck Finn has received a lot of attention, both good and bad, since its conception. This has raised the question is Twain a racist or living up to his title as the Great Humorist. The latter will be the focus of this essay. Through use of satire, life experiences and accurate portrayals of the time, Twain proves that he is indeed…show more content…
John H. Wallace had said that the novel is “the most grotesque example of racist trash ever written. Ernest Hemmingway’s view is that “all modern American literature” comes from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. However, before any conclusions about the novel have been drawn, the context and time period of the novel and the author must first be known. Known by his pseudonym Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri and surrounded by slavery and personally witnessed the events that ensued. He also later married Olivia Langdon, prominent abolitionist along with her father. In addition, Twain was close friends with once slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Huck Finn was first published in 1885, a time where slavery was still an issue besides the fact that it had been abolished. Twain opened the novel with a notice saying that anyone “attempting to find a motive” in the narrative would be lead to persecution. The novel was also published as a companion piece to Twain’s previous novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Because of the novel’s use of race, it has led to a lot of contention and strife, but also an abundance of
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