Huckleberry Finn Essay
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel that will continue to be read for decades to come. Why? The novel by Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemens, has many themes that relate to society today. Even today society continues to talk about whether the novel should be read amongst high-school curriculums. Society is also continuing to deal with racism, and its effects on the lives of African-Americans. Another theme that is prevalent in society is lying among American children.
Huck Finn is a self taught liar, and a very good one at that. On the raft, while floating down the Mississippi, Huck has an opportunity to exercise his gift for lying. The boy enjoys mendacity; he lies for the sake of lying and keeps the reader turning the page piling on one fiction after another. Just before the runaways get started, Huck visits a neighboring town to get information and encounters a farmer’s wife. He is dressed in an old dress and is pretending to be a young girl searching for her relatives. The woman suspects his sex and tries various devices to ascertain if her suspicions are true. Among these is threading a needle and throwing a bar of lead at the rats which swarm around the house. Finally she makes Huck own up that he is a boy. In any case, this is a great example of a young boy lying until his nose is a foot long. Lying is prevalent among today’s children as well.
Racism has an obvious connection to today’s society. In the novel Huck says many “racist” comments. In this scene Aunt Sally hears of a steamboat explosion.
“Good gracious! anybody hurt?” she asks.
“No’m,” comes the answer. “Killed a nigger.”
Aunt Sally later refers to the “nigger” as if they are not even a person, regarding the death as if it did not even matter.
“Well, it’s lucky because sometimes people do get hurt.”
At first glance at the novel Huckleberry Finn, many would protest to the explicit use of the “N” word which was used over two-hundred times. As a result Huck Finn, one of the greatest American novels is noteworthy. This book was not written to besmirch the blacks of any rights or defame their character. This book was written to prove a point about the racial tension in the South before the Civil War. Therefore, Twain had no intention of being racist. In fact the message Twain is sending is anything but racist. Today, racism has nearly disappeared from our lives. There are still many individual racists but for the most part this disease has been cured. As in the book, most people described as racists are not, for they are just mistaken.
There are school districts across the nation that are debating whether to ban their children from reading Huckleberry Finn. If this book is taught, the novel can open student’s eyes to the racial tension that ignorance causes. The students will become aware of their history. They will not be deprived of a lesson in their past that describes what their great-grandparents went through. We have to remember that Huck Finn was written fifty years before Martin Luther King Jr. was born. During those times it was acceptable to lynch an African American man, and acceptable to use the “N” word. If this book is taken out of high-school curriculums where would students learn about the history of racism?
In conclusion, the many themes present in Huck Finn will always be relevant to modern society. I believe that Huckleberry Finn will forever be regarded as a literary classic and as a novel that should be read and enjoyed by people of all ages.