The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written in the 1880s. The controversy surrounding this work did not subside for almost a century. Mark Twain was an ardent opponent of slavery and racism, which he was not afraid to declare from the pages of his book. Through the lips of some of the protagonists, the author himself speaks, despising the oppression of man by man and racial discrimination.
For the writer’s contemporaries, such views were considered more than revolutionary and unreasonable. Dark skin could not raise doubts that its owner was less valuable and more powerless for society. Goodies should not facilitate the escape of the slave. In addition, a black could not be compared with a white, attributed to him the same properties and character traits. Breaking the entrenched stereotype was not easy.
Twain never took seriously the fact that his contemporaries considered his ideas of equality of races to be sheer madness. In 1885, a year after the first publication, the management of the Massachusetts Public Library decided to withdraw Twain’s “provocative” book from its collection. The writer was not at all embarrassed or upset by this. Twain was confident that removing the book from the library archives would make it even more popular, and since the library could no longer borrow it, readers would go to the bookstore. This will lead to more sales.
Accusation of racism
In the early twentieth century, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was again criticized. And if in the past the book was criticized for the author’s rejection of slavery, now Twain was accused of racism. Several schools in the United States have removed the work from the school curriculum.
Виной всему послужило употребляемое автором слово «ниггер». In the 19th century, this word did not have any negative connotation and was in common use. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was considered offensive. In 2011, a new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was released in the United States that did not contain the forbidden word.
Before reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is recommended that you read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to learn the story of the two young adventurers from the beginning.
Huckleberry (Huck) Finn is taken to her for re-education by the widow Douglas. The woman sincerely regrets the boy and wants to raise him into a respectable citizen. Huck has a hard time getting used to his new life. The prim environment in which he is, seems to the boy simply unbearable: Huck is forced to go to school, dress “decently” and learn good manners.
One day Finn learns that his father, an alcoholic and a tramp, has arrived in the city where he lives. The father learns that Huckleberry became rich (how this happened can be read in the book “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”). Sr. Finn stole his son from the widow’s house. The boy is locked up a few miles from the city. The father wants to get his son back and manage his wealth.
Huckleberry was able to escape from his unreliable parent. Finn wants to settle on a small island near the city. Once this small piece of land was uninhabited. Now a dark-skinned guy Jim who escaped from his mistress lives on it. Huck and his new friend decided to go to the northern states, where there is no slavery. It was possible to move at night and only on water, because if the authorities discovered Jim, he would face serious punishment.
On the way to the North, the friends meet two crooks who call themselves the King and Duke. The swindlers gladly join the strange company. Geek loves the dexterity with which crooks trick the simple-minded inhabitants of the small towns they meet on their way. However, when the King and Duke attempt to trick the three orphans, Huckleberry decided to intervene. Deceiving orphans is unfair. After the scam, thanks to Finn’s actions, broke down, the scammers turn Jim over to the authorities. They did this both in order to take revenge on Huck, and in order to receive the reward usually relying on in such cases.
Trying to save Jim, who could be sold to the southern states for cotton plantations, Huckleberry seeks out his friend Tom. Huck is sure that Sawyer will not refuse to help him. The best friend fully met expectations. Tom not only helped in organizing the escape, but also turned it into a powerful performance. It turns out, however, that the escape was organized in vain. Mistress Jim is no longer alive. Before her death, she managed to give freedom to her slave.
Characteristics of the characters
After the death of Tom’s mother, Aunt Polly took up his upbringing. Sawyer finds life in the house of a close relative too boring, despite the fact that Tom does his best to entertain himself. Lively spontaneous character and hyperactivity do not prevent Tom from loving reading. The boy prefers adventure literature to all genres. Having read stories about other people’s adventures, Tom certainly wants to make them a part of his life. That’s why Sawyer turns Jim’s escape into a show.