Preview
Preview

Critics of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1432 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Critics of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered by many to be the greatest American novel ever written.  Despite this praise, Mark Twain’s masterpiece has never been without criticism.  Upon its inception it was blasted for being indecent literature for young readers because of its lack of morals and contempt for conformity.  Modern indignation toward Huck Finn arises from its racist undertones, most notably Twain’s treatment of the character Jim.  As is the case with many canonized yet controversial books, the biggest conflict revolves around the inclusion of Huck Finn on required reading lists of public schools throughout the country.

 In general, the mostly African-American critics consider Twain himself to be racist and Huck Finn simply reflects this.  Blacks, especially Jim, are portrayed as fools and used as comedic fodder to bolster feelings of white superiority in Twain’s southern audience.  Although Jim’s positive qualities are presented in certain parts of the novel, they are overshadowed by his superstitious folly which Twain returns to in the later chapters.  The fact that Huck’s narration is intentionally skewed by the innocence and ignorance of an adolescent is little consolation to critics who feel that Twain has committed gross immorality.  Also, the incessant use of the epithet “nigger” has been deemed excessive.  Despite these condemnations though even the staunchest opponents of Twain find certain redeeming qualities that make it hard to promote all out censorship.

One of the most stringent dissenters of Huck Finn is Julius Lester, Newberry Award winning author of the children’s book To Be a Slave.  Lester argues that one of the primary concerns of lit...


... middle of paper ...


...hite man.  This pseudo-parenthood relieves Huck of any lifelong responsibilities to Jim and also allows Twain to eventually separate the two without any emotional repercussions.  In short, they lack a true familial bond implicating a tragedy of sadness at the core of their relationship which is possibly due to Huck’s insatiable racism.

Ultimately, both Henry and Morrison approve the teaching of Huck Finn under the conditions of mature students and cautious, open-minded teachers.  The problems in Twain’s novel may never be fully explained but an honest and careful consideration of the issues in Huck Finn should contribute positively to the growing awareness of American race relations.
 
Work Cited

Clemens, Samuel. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter, et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Lexington: Heath, 1994.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
When Clemens Gives you Lemons: On Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint” (Lederer 472). This direct quote from Twain himself highlights an important aspect of his character: his ability to incorporate humor into his own life. He was a prominent leader of the regional realism movement, which came about due to new technologies, postwar racial tensions, and a newfound commitment to realistic representation. Regional realism maintained popularity throughout the years of 1865-1900. Examples of this movement can be seen in many of Twain’s works, such as “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn....   [tags: civil war, literary critics, language]
:: 6 Works Cited
1202 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Black Humanity in Huckleberry Finn Essay - Black Humanity in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn               Lauded by literary critics, writers and the general reading public, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn commands one of the highest positions in the canon of American literature.  On an international level, it is “a fixture among the classics of world literature” (Kaplan 352).  It “is a staple from junior high . . . to graduate school” and “is second only to Shakespeare in the frequency with which it appears in the classroom ....   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays]
:: 18 Works Cited
2397 words
(6.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about moralhf Huckleberry Finn's Struggles with Conscience - Huckleberry Finn's Struggles with Conscience     Since Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885, critics have considered it an excellent example of a story tracing the journey of a young man from childhood to adulthood.  Through the years, readers have enjoyed seeing Huck grow from a young, carefree boy into a responsible young man with a decent sense of right and wrong.  The " adventures" appeal to readers who had to make some of the same tough decisions Huck did in struggles with conscience....   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
830 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Powerful Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay - 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)....   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1595 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Criticism of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Past and Present Essay example - Criticism of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Past  and Present      The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the all-time most controversial American novels.  Marks Twain’s masterpiece, narrated by a rebellious boy who rafts down the Mississippi river with a runaway slave, has received a wide variety of kudos and criticism since it first appeared in 1885.  While it is still applauded for its childlike imagination and realistic use of dialogue, the criticisms of Huck Finn have undergone a drastic shift....   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Finn] 623 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Public Reception of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay examples - The Public Reception of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Upon its publication in 1884, Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was met with mixed reviews. Some reviewers called it flat, trashy, and irreverent. Others called it Twain's best work yet, hailing his humor and style throughout the novel. Though obscure at first, reviews began to appear in many newspapers throughout the country as more and more became interested in the novel as a result of these reviews. Huckleberry Finn was published at a time when the nation was deeply concerned about the effects of literature on young minds....   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Finn] 960 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Racial Debate of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay - The Racial Debate of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn         The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, throughout the years, has provoked many debates pertaining to racism. A variety of individuals believe that Mark Twain expressed apparently racist ideas. The reason being, this novel shows the relationships between blacks and whites in the nineteenth century and all the ugliness that accompanied these associations. However, this novel is not a racist novel; it shows these situations not to promote racism, but to bring a better understanding of the subject and how one can overcome individual prejudices and grow from these experiences.  This novel shows Huck Finn, a product of this in...   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
2109 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Prejudice and Racism in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Prejudice and Racism in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn   Despite all the criticism, of racism and other questionable material for young readers, Mark Twain’s The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn is a superbly written novel, which in the opinion of this reviewer should not be remove the literary cannon. Twain’s novel is a coming of age story that teaches young people many valuable lessons and to some extend makes students reexamine their own lives and morals. The most common argument for its removal from the literary canon is that the novel is too racist; it offends black readers, perpetuates cheap slave-era stereotypes, and deserves no place on today’s bookshelves.  However...   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays] 1060 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Final Episode of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay - The Great Importance of the Final Episode of Huckleberry Finn        One of the things many critics of Huckleberry Finn  just can't seem to understand is the final episode of the novel where Tom returns and sidetracks Huck from his rescue of Jim through a long series of silly, boyish plans based on ideas Tom has picked up from Romantic novels, such as those of Walter Scott.  Critic Stephen Railton dismisses these final chapters as "just another version of their Royal Nonesuch" (405); referring, of course, to the silly play put on by the Duke and Dauphin in chapter 23.  From one point of view, this whole "evasion" sequence seems funny and humorous in the traditions...   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays]
:: 12 Works Cited
3010 words
(8.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
19th Century Reviews of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Reviews of Huckleberry Finn in the late 19th Century In the 20th Century, no other book was discussed or fought over more then The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. The book has been banned and reinstated in many school systems and libraries throughout this century. Controversy over the use of the word "nigger" has been one of the biggest arguments. The fact that people are still feeling the sting and abuse from the creation of this slang word is understandable. The other problem that many people have is that Jim, the black main character, was played off as a comical, half-wit character....   [tags: Adventures Huckleberry Huck Finn Essays] 1685 words
(4.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]