Racism Of Yesterday And Today Essay

1788 words - 7 pages

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain in the middle of the nineteenth century. Much of the inspiration for the book came from Mark Twain’s own encounters. Twain’s experiences as a steamboat pilot from 1835 to 1845 provided a great deal of the historical context for his work. The novel revolves around a southern boy, Huck, and a slave named Jim who both reject society by running away in hopes of finding freedom. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn highlights and portrays the cruelty of racism that surrounded the south in Pre-Civil War America; the racism depicted in the book still to this day receives uproar of controversy and criticism.
Mark Twain’s ideas for his books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and many others, came from his own experiences. Mark Twain was originally born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835 in Florida, Missouri. At the age of four, he moved to a small town called Hannibal, located on the Mississippi River, which was a major focal point in The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn. In 1847 Samuel’s father suddenly died which sent the whole family into money crisis. The passing of Samuel’s father could symbolize why Huckleberry Finn’s father is absent from his life, as well. The Mississippi River flourished with steamboats which sparked Twain’s interest in them. Huckleberry Finn, much like Mark Twain, also had an attraction to steamboats throughout the book. The violence and killings in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn coincide with the violence that Twain observed as a child. Growing up, Twain witnessed a murder along with a slave’s death after his owner struck him with a piece of iron. As Bob Frost explains in the “Mark Twain” biography, Twain’s childhood experiences in Hannibal influenced much of the sites and events that happened in his works (2).
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn takes place circa 1830s with a number of journeys along the Mississippi River. During that time, separation, slavery, and racism ran rampant. Andrew Jackson was the current and seventh president of the time. Jackson served for two terms, overall from 1829 - 1837. By the early 1800s, slavery was almost nonexistent in the north and more primarily situated in the south. Slaves had no rights whatsoever; a white man had unlimited power over their slave. Slaves had to endure grueling labor with minimal food, clothing, and medical attention. Due to the unjust treatment of slaves, The American Colonization Society was set up to send free blacks to Africa to establish a colony. This organization was regarded as a possible solution to slavery and racism. However, an even bigger movement arose, the abolition movement. Abolitionists came about in hopes of ending slavery immediately. The arguments of the abolitionists brought light to the “immorality and inhumanity of slavery” (Bates 2). Meanwhile, white Southerners believed that their everyday lifestyle was being taken away from them. Slavery became...

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