Neither is placing the task of dealing with it on one book. But they don't require you to look the perpetrators of that evil in the eye and find yourself looking at a kind, gentle, good-hearted Aunt Sally.We continue to live, as a nation, in the shadow of racism while being simultaneously committed, on paper, to principles of equality. They don't make you understand that it was not the villains who made the system work, but the ordinary folks, the good folks, the folks, who did nothing more than fail to question the set of circumstances that surrounded them, who failed to judge that evil as evil and who deluded themselves into thinking they were doing good, earning safe passage for themselves into heaven.
Neither is placing the task of dealing with it on one book. But they don't require you to look the perpetrators of that evil in the eye and find yourself looking at a kind, gentle, good-hearted Aunt Sally.We continue to live, as a nation, in the shadow of racism while being simultaneously committed, on paper, to principles of equality. They don't make you understand that it was not the villains who made the system work, but the ordinary folks, the good folks, the folks, who did nothing more than fail to question the set of circumstances that surrounded them, who failed to judge that evil as evil and who deluded themselves into thinking they were doing good, earning safe passage for themselves into heaven.Tags: Pace University Honors ThesisCover Letter For Customer Service Specialist PositionQualitative DissertationAluminum Bats Vs Wooden Bats EssayTeaching Cause And Effect Essay WritingDeclaration Of Independence AssignmentEuthanasia Case Studies NetherlandsWenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Application FormPig Farming Business Plan Sample
That they're saying that Twain saw him that way rather than that Huck did? Clemens as a child accepted without question, as Huck did, the idea that slaves were property; neither wanted to be called a "low-down Abolitionist" if he could possibly help it.
Between the time of that Hannibal childhood and adolescence, however, and the years in which Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn, Twain's consciousness changed.
First, one must understand how Socratic irony works if the novel is to make any sense at all; most students don't. I think under most circumstances, however, they are obstacles you can deal with.
Secondly, one must be able to place the novel in a larger historical and literary context -- one that includes the history of American racism and the literary productions of African-American writers -- if the book is to be read as anything more than a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (which it both is and is not); most students can't. It is impossible to read Huck Finn intelligently without understanding that Mark Twain's consciousness and awareness is larger than that of any of the characters in the novel, including Huck.
By the time he wrote Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens had come to believe not only that slavery was a horrendous wrong, but that white Americans owed black Americans some form of "reparations" for it.
One graphic way to demonstrate this fact to your students is to share with them the letter Twain wrote to the Dean of the Yale Law School in 1885, in which he explained why he wanted to pay the expenses of Warner Mc Guinn, one of the first black law students at Yale.These two problems pose real obstacles for teachers. Indeed, part of what makes the book so effective is the fact that Huck is too innocent and ignorant to understand what's wrong with his society and what's right about his own transgressive behavior. One must be skeptical about most of what Huck says in order to hear what Twain is saying.In a 1991 interview, Ralph Ellison suggested that critics who condemn Twain for the portrait of Jim that we get in the book forget that "one also has to look at the teller of the tale, and realize that you are getting a black man, an adult, seen through the condescending eyes -- partially -- of a young white boy." Are you saying, I asked Ellison, "that those critics are making the same old mistake of confusing the narrator with the author?"We have ground the manhood out of them," Twain wrote Dean Wayland on Christmas Eve, 1885, "and the shame is ours, not theirs, & we should pay for it." Ask your students: why does a writer who holds these views create a narrator who is too innocent and ignorant to challenge the topsy-turvy moral universe that surrounds him?"All right, then, I'll go to Hell," Huck says when he decides not to return Jim to slavery.He does not think about the humiliating effect the joke would have on Jim.Jim calls Huck out on the cruelty behind his antics, telling him that, "When I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun', de tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss' yo' foot I's so thankful.Irony, history, and racism all painfully intertwine in our past and present, and they all come together in Huck Finn.Because racism is endemic to our society, a book like Huck Finn, which brings the problem to the surface, can explode like a hand grenade in a literature classroom accustomed to the likes of Macbeth or Great Expectations -- works which exist at a safe remove from the lunchroom or the playground.Those voices can greatly enrich students' understanding of both the issues Huckleberry Finn raises and the vernacular style in which it raises them. It is a book that puts on the table the very questions the culture so often tries to bury, a book that opens out into the complex history that shaped it -- the history of the ante-bellum era in which the story is set, and the history of the post-war period in which the book was written -- and it requires us to address that history as well. Indeed, it is to avoid confronting the raw pain of that history that black parents sometimes mobilize to ban the novel.Brushing history aside, however, is no solution to the larger challenge of dealing with its legacy.