Racism and Education in Huckleberry Finn

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry tool” Throughout time America has resembled “the land of the free,” but in fact we continue with racism and poor education. How is it that America is known for such great things, but still has so many negative aspects? It is through this racism and poor education that America gains its negativity.

In the novel Adventures of huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the plot takes place in the 1800s with a young white boy named Huck Finn who runs away from home with a slave named Jim to freedom In this novel Mark Twain‘s America is viewed as racist and has a lack of education. In the areas of racism and education, we still resemble Twain’s America, Racism in Huck appears through segregation, unequal rights, stereotypes and constant use of insulting phrases Jim, a slave, and friend to Huck Firm, is stereotyped as a foolish, uneducated, superstitious slaves His belief that witches and the devil visited him makes him seem as if he lacks total common sense.

The five-cent piece that Huck and Tom leave for the candles they steal becomes Jim’s good luck necklace that “cures sickness,” His magical talking hairball, stories of ghosts, and superstitious ideas about an empty rattle snack shell all portray him as a fool. However, he breaks free from his role as a fool when he takes care of Huck.

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Although his stories seem crazy, they also seem to hold a deeper meaning. It is as if his superstitious stories are fables giving worldly advice specifically when he shields the dead body on the island from Huck’s childish eyes and innocence. Jim said, “Come in, Huck, but don’t look at his face 7 it’s gashly”. He further goes on to take care of Huck by disguising him as a girl before letting him go back into town, and when he tries to talk Huck out of boarding and looting the abandoned ship on the river.

His ability to take care of Huck separates him from his stereotyped role as a foolish, superstitious slave. Many African Americans in the novel are constantly called the “n” word which is an insulting term used to discriminate against blacks. Racism in modern-day America is from unconscious racism and stereotyping, this is similar to America in Huck Finn when stereotyping people is constant and racism is so obvious. CNN did a poll on how blacks and whites Viewed racism. It happened to be that whites viewed racism as a low issue as blacks viewed racism in America as a big issue. The article states, “Almost half of the black respondents — 49 percent — said racism is a very serious problem, while 18 percent of white shared that View” . The reason the black respondent’s percentage is most likely higher is because of racism that afflicts them and other minority groups.

For instance, the article, later on, writes on how real estate agents were selling beautiful homes in beautiful neighborhoods to the white population but not so much the black population. The article says, “real estate agents steered whites away from integrated neighborhoods and steered blacks toward predominantly black neighborhoods”. The real estate agents were discriminating towards the black population and also towards the white population when it came to buying homes. They viewed white people as wanting to live in a beautiful community and viewed black people as not caring as much where they wanted to live. The education in Huck Finn is poor, in the America Mark Twain makes, education is not important. In fact, Huck Finn quits school and runs away. The novel itself is from Huck’s point of view that uses poor grammar, and inappropriate language and he is uncivilized demonstrating his lack of education.

Huck feels uncomfortable with being “sivilized” due to his upbringing Both his parents were uneducated and his father actually discourages education. Huck explains here, “Well, pretty soon the old man was up and around again, and then he went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that money, and then he went for me, too, for not stopping school”. His father beats and criticizes him to make sure he does not receive schooling, Huck inherited his father’s lack of interest in education. Huck enjoys simple living and even the clothes of a “sivilized” person do not suit him, as he explains here, “She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn’t do nothing, but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up”. The education in modern-day America is not poor but it does happen to be lazy and not as educational as it should be, This is similar in Huck because education is not important and in modern-day America, it is resembled as lazy.

The same characteristics someone could give characters in the novel In the article “Yes Mr, President, Americans can be ‘lazy by Roland Martin, Martin makes a point on how Americans can be lazy especially towards education, Martin uses many examples in his writing, to prove his point that American‘s are lazy, but he also develops the argument of how American’s are arrogant. He writes, “A few months ago I read a story where American college students were dismayed that they had to apply for jobs overseas”. With the economy like it is today, these college students should be biting at their teeth on the fact that they are able to get a job. People should not be bothered by the fact that they have to go to another country. This proves America’s arrogance, because other countries immigrate to America, but we cannot immigrate to other countries. Again, Martin connects his argument to other pieces of work like, “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson and how Steve Jobs is insulted for his treatment of workers Steve Jobs, is on the richest men in America

and owns one the most powerful businesses in the world Martin writes, “He was trying to create a world-class company that could withstand the test of time and wasn’t filled with a bunch of B players. He wanted excellence in every spot, and would rather fire a B or C player on the spot than accept shoddy work”. This is an excellent point Martin makes, Steve Jobs had one of the most brilliant minds in America and Americans are upset, because he was building a highly recognized business and wanted the best of the best. Americans are lazy because they are satisfied with a B or C, but when you have a person like Steve Jobs who strives for excellence every day, well then the lazy Americans will not last. Mark Twain‘s America mirrors modern-day America through the racism and lack of education that is evident Lila Watson once said, “If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your timei,,but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” This can be of great help when trying to step away from Mark Twain‘s America, but if we do not work together than we will continue to lack education and racism will go on.

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Racism and Education in Huckleberry Finn. (2023, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/racism-and-poor-education-in-america-in-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn-by-mark-twain/

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