What Is Mark Twain's Attitude To Slavery

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“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” Many people remember author Mark Twain for his humoristic style of writing and his stances on issues such as politics and religion, yet few are aware of his thoughts on slavery. Twain was born on November 30, 1835 in the town of Florida, Missouri. By the age of four his family relocated to the nearby town of Hannibal, where he spent the majority of his adolescence. Throughout his years living in Hannibal, Twain was exposed first hand to the practice of slavery. Both his father and uncle owned slaves and at the age of ten Twain witnessed a white overseer beat to death a slave using an iron rod(). Due to both his upbringing and early life experiences, Twain originally…show more content…
I was not aware there was anything wrong about it. No-one arraigned it in my hearing; the local papers said nothing against it; the local pulpit taught us that God approved it, that it was a holy thing, and that the doubter need only look in the Bible if he wished to settle his mind-and then the texts were read aloud to us to make us sure. (32)
Yet over time, he became enlightened and saw slavery for what it was, a deplorable institution. He eventually expressed his new found beliefs, through the characters, plot and language in the works of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and A True Story Repeated Word for Word as I heard it. In each of his stories Twain uses 3 types of characters to relay his thoughts about slavery to the reader; the first of which is the racist. By placing a racist in his stories, Twain is able to educate the reader to the dark side of slavery. The best example of this type of character can be found in Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In this book Twain exposes the reader to the character of Pap, a drunkard vagrant with a very violent disposition. Twain uses Pap to show the reader how Southern folk viewed minorities during the mid to late 1800’s. For example on page 46 of the novel, Pap goes into a racist tirade after being arrested for public
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For example in A True Story, Aunt Rachel has been battered and abused by her southern masters and sort of accepts her place beneath them. Yet when she is freed by the Union army at the end of the story, she is shocked at how much different they treat her, “So one day I comes in dah whah de big officers was, in de palor, an’ I drops a kurtchy, so, an’ I tole ‘em ‘bout my Henry, dey a listentin’ jist de same as if I was white.” Now despite Twain revealing the North’s respectfulness toward slaves, he also reveals that many had the same prejudices as their southern counterparts. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court for example, character Hank Morgan has a very low opinion of the Native American Indian. Despite believing slavery is wrong, Hank still believes that the native American is a lesser human being, “it is mere animal training; they are white
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