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The Powerful Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay

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The Powerful Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 
     When Samuel Langhorne Clemens first published his story, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he was criticized severely. On top of that, the book was banned from libraries and schools alike. The book was thought to be a bad influence on children because it represents the breaking of the law as moral, it recommends disobedience and defiance on the part of young people, it portrays churchgoers as hypocritical, and the most admirable characters in the book habitually lie and steal and loaf (Johnson XII). In this day and time, though, the book has become required reading for many schools, and is found in almost every library in the country. Why has there been a change in attitude about the book? I believe that it was Twain's ideas on slavery, and his views on the "code of honor" of the South that made critics and readers alike come to love his book and see it for what it really was below the surface.

 

Twain was completely and utterly against slavery. He viewed it as immoral and wrong. In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain writes on two aspects of slavery that particularly bothered him. One is the legal concept of the slave as property, and the other is the endorsement and support of slavery on religious and moral grounds by the established church. Repeatedly in the novel, the reader is reminded of the cruel absurdity by which one human being pretends to own another, much as one would own a cow or a horse, and that this is done in the name of religion adds makes it even more perverse (Johnson 110). The idea of a slave as property is introduced immediately after Jim, one of the main characters and a slave, runs away. He speaks of himself as property: "...


... middle of paper ...


...m completely that it was a very foolish way of life.

 

Works Cited

Adams, Richard P., Unity and Coherence of Huckleberry Finn. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Simpson, Claude M., ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968.

Crowley, Donald J., ed. One Hundred Years of Huckleberry Finn: The Boy, His Book, and American Culture. Columbia: U of Missouri, 1985.

Johnson, Claudia Durst. Understanding Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, CT: Greenwood P, 1996.

Poirier, Richard, Huck Finn and the Metaphors of Society. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Simpson, Claude M., ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968.

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (1884) Secaucus: Castle, 1987.

 


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