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Slavery & Twain

This paper will develop supporting ideas on why Mark Twain’s novel Huck Finn should not be banned. Although the novel presents a poor view of American culture in reference to slavery, the book is not in support of slavery and only documents the misadventures and maturity of a young juvenile criminal. It is his awakening to the ways of humanity that truly makes this novel noteworthy and why it should not be banned.

No book should be banned for having noted the cultural acceptance of slavery only because the book is documenting the history of a country. The theme of slavery also supports the reader’s understanding of the young protagonist’s moral growth in “Huckleberry Finn”: “I’m low down; and I’m a-going to steal him” (Twain, 1999, Ch. 33); as one can understand, Huck no longer views Jim as property, but in order to persuade Tom, he recognizes his own inclination to wrongdoing and takes entire responsibility for the stealing the slave.

Huck’s moral development is less gradual and actually consists of several insights: 1) first encounter with Jim as a fugitive slave and the initial desire to help him; 2) The loss of the companion after meeting the “aristocrats” and Jim’s imprisonment in Phelpses’ house. Huck Finn’s social characteristics remain practically the same, as the author seeks to maintain the reader’s focus on the advancement of his moral qualities, so that the adolescent still remains to some extent uncommitted to social norms (“Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it” (Twain 1999, Ch.

43), in spite of having developed his distinct attitude towards slavery. Mark Twain design the plot structure, which underlines the failures and subsequent insights of the protagonist, embed the central theme into the main character’s spiritual growth and substantially change the protagonist’s social features, except Huck’s case, in which the focus on morality shift is broadened through remaining social characteristics stable. In Huckleberry Finn’s disappearance from civilized life, after his father kidnaps him and Huck fakes his own death.

Jim gives advice to Huckleberry Finn about the disappointments found in the world and how a man may be able to handle himself by making conscious choices. The point of going down the Mississippi is to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible in order to later filter opinion from fact, one’s own thoughts from society’s mores. It is in the creation of man’s own thoughts, of Finn deciding throughout the journey that no man should be a slave that Huckleberry Finn becomes a man, becomes an American scholar since he is finally thinking for himself.

He rejects Widow Douglas, his father, society in whole and travels with Jim collecting his own thoughts and deciding what is wrong and what is right in the nature of man. Thus, not only does the novel make mention of social status but also of child abuse; these are two very hot topics to debate, however, if the book were banned it would only be a way in which these issues would not have a form of dialogue and thus communication, which is a necessary part of healing, could not be established.

Huck’s action consists in the part of the story where the Dauphin capture Jim and subsequently sells him in order to receive the reward. Huck is completely outraged by this betrayal and in the course of the story this signifies the first time that he acts upon his own judgment and he rejects the advice of his conscience which tells him that by helping Jim escape to freedom he is in a way stealing Miss Watson’s property. Huck tells himself, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell!

“Huck resolves to free Jim, thus the protagonist of the book comes to an epiphany on the social status of all of mankind as equal, and it is this fact that allows the book to be such a masterpiece; the child of the story comes to a conclusion about how man should be treated based from his own experiences, the character is permited to grow; this is a lesson unto itself in the story, and what it gives its audience. Thus, there would be no point, no good, in banning Twain’s novel.

Huckleberry Finn in this capacity of multiple vocations (river boatman, swindler, farmer, etc) has shown that he has embraced all labors; although his particular shine to each vocation has had varying degrees of acceptance, Finn does in fact possess himself. The genius of Twain’s protagonist is that he does not sequester each idea into its limited genre; Finn does not maintain the same identity but his character grows in each identity.

By creating a character in this fashion, Twain has emphasized the importance of the social commentary, and thus, proven the worth of this piece of literature. As a man thinking then, Huckleberry Finn illustrates his life as such; the past instructing him; Huck learns from his mistakes and takes everything into consideration before acting as can be witnessed in his debate over whether or not steal Jim and give him his freedom.

Huckleberry Finn also invites the future; he wants change and part of the reason he travels so meanderingly around the country landscape is to incite this change. He is tired of civilized life so he ventures out into the wilderness. In traveling on the river Finn comes to an epiphany, and it is this epiphany which should be the focus of discussions on whether or not the book should be banned, because this is the book’s quality, a young man’s epiphany of equality.

Work Cited Twain, Mark. “Huckleberry Finn. ” Bantam Classic. 1981.

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