The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Over Their Heads: In defense of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" as an anti-racist novel College

Mark Twain’s 1884 novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has long been regarded as both a literary masterpiece and a source of extreme controversy. With its central themes of race and the development of morals, Huck Finn brought to light the most uncomfortable elements of the United States in the aftermath of the Civil War, daring its readers of all ages and backgrounds to confront their own negative opinions of race and accept people for who they are regardless of situation and skin color.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an anti-racist novel that identifies the problem of racism through Twain’s language and racist characters. Twain is a satirist, using subtle humor as a vehicle to criticize the bigoted members of his audience. The dialects in which his characters speak and the manners in which they treat others are all very carefully established by the author for the purpose of mocking racism and characterizing it as a negative element of society. His intention is not to praise it, though this is often misconstrued. Twain’s casual writing actually has a gravity to it that is often misunderstood by readers who become distracted by the alleged ignorance of protagonist Huck and get caught up in superficial issues, such as Twain’s...

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