Winnie the Pooh didn't take place during one of the most controversial times in American history, when slavery, King Cotton and Jim Crow ruled when abolitionists and apologists were battling over the fundamental meaning of freedom and humanity, and when the north and the south kept disputing over the issue Of leaver that would eventually lead to the bloodiest war in American history The Civil War. By writing this book Mark Twain not only gave us an entertaining adventure and a picaresque novel but also gave us a really deep and analytical synopsis of southern culture and the horrors of slavery.
He was really subtle with his commentary on slavery itself, however focused a lot on racism especially by emphasizing racial slurs in dialogues and utilizing racial stereotypes. This in itself justifies its place in high school curriculum by presenting itself as an adventure book with a great deal of history in it, but it also proves that it's an essential part of the curriculum and the hall of fame for great books, because it's a book that makes you stop and think multiple times about not only the past, but the present and current racism happening in the country and around the world.
Huckleberry Finn is a great historical novel, informative and realistic, when it came to slavery in the south during that era. The story starts in Missouri with Houck spending time with Tom and his band of robbers, and finally with his dad which he describes to be as "greasy and dirty". He ends up escaping Missouri to run away from his dad and ends up meeting Jim who's also trying to escape. The rest of the story involves them going further south until they can reach a river passage that would guide them north, to the Free states.
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Going further south always symbolized trouble, since the Deep South was the heart of slavery, and Border States treated slaves more "kindly/' than southern states. That's why Jim always expresses his fear of being sold further south, and that's why at the end when they hear Uncle Sills thinking about selling Jim down south if no one claims him causes them to panic. Examples like this makes this book an amazing tool to use to explain what slavery in the south meant to kids.
Other than slavery the book effectively depicts southern culture throughout Husk's adventures. The scene where Houck gets on the gigantic raft, with the brawl in the middle, gives a realistic image Of what manhood and honor meant in the south, and how important they were. "They made fun of him till he got mad and jumped up and began to cuss the crowd, and said he could lam any thief in the lot. They was all about to make a break for him, but the biggest man there jumped up and says: 'Set Wharton are, entitlement.
Leave him to me; he's my meat. "' It shows how physical fortitude was particularly more important than it was in the north; and physical aggression more acceptable. The passage where it went: "The preaching was going under the same kinds of sheds, only they was bigger and held crowds of peoples... ] The first shed we come to, the preacher was lining out a hymn. He lined out two lines, everybody sung it, and it was kind of grand to hear it, there was so many of them and they done it in such a rousing way ". Showed importance of religion In society and the pep respect and trust people showed towards priests. Other important and common social practices such as lynching were mentioned a lot too, during the 19th century lynching was a big problem, surmounting 300 a year in some cases, and this was the biggest threat for the King and the Duke. People took justice into their own hands and towards the end when the village tarred and feathered them, showing how they were not going to have a trial.
The reality and harshness of society in the south was vividly portrayed in the book, and as a result this makes the book a valuable commodity to have in the class mom. The reason why this book is so essential for the classroom, and for outside of the classroom, is because the ingenious diction and technique Mark Twain used to get the readers to think critically on issues that plague our society even today. Houck never really breaks free of the racism surrounding him, but he manages to see through the curtain it makes.
Mark Twain actively gives the feeling of both racial prejudice and childish sympathy Houck feels towards Jim in passages where Houck talks about Jim. An example of this was when Houck talks about]IM feeling sad about his family: I went to sleep, and Jim didn't call me when it was my turn. He often done that. When I waked up, just at daybreak, he was setting there with his head down betwixt his knees, moaning and mourning to himself. I didn't take notice, nor let on. I endowed what it was about.
He was thinking about his wife and his children, away up yonder, and he was low and homesick; because he hadn't ever been away from home before in his life; and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for theirs. It don't seem natural, but I reckon it's so. He was often moaning and mourning that way, nights, when he judged I as asleep, and saying 'Pop' little 'Elizabeth! Pop' little Johnny! It mighty hard; I spec' I anti ever Gwynne to see you no MO'! ' He was a mighty good Niger, Jim was. This part is not only emotional for Houck and the reader as an observer, but really sad for Jim as well. Bondage of a whole race wasn't only about economic necessities, social customs and politics but also about stories, experiences and incredible hardships. This book shows the human damage slavery had done upon African . Also an interesting thing to note is how Houck feels bad for him but still considers it abnormal for Jim to feel these linings, thus still giving the passage an underlying racist tone, to always remind us how much it was embedded in society all around the nation.
The final passage involving a serious tone involving the dilemma of slavery and freedom was when Houck had to decide between ratting out Jim or not: there was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time from up there in heaven, whilst I was stealing a poor old woman's Niger that hadn't ever done me no harm So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, ND set down and wrote and got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me we a floating along, talking and singing, and laughing.
But somehow I couldn't seem to strike any places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. See him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog and how good he always was; and at last struck the time saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he's got now; I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, ND I endowed it. Tidied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself; 'All right, then, I'll go to hell'- and tore it up".That celebrated crisis of conscience Houck experiences is a question. It makes the choices people back then made about the question Houck was pondering about clearer, and also shows the questions people are still trying to answer today. The immigration problem, Ferguson and Staten Island shows that we still struggle between doing the right and wrong thing.
This elaborate language, and the continuous underlying tone of racism (Houck describing his hooch of freeing Jim as evil by concluding that he'll go to hell for this is an example of the racist undertone in this passage) really makes this book excellent for young students stepping out into a world where they will face many controversial choices, and this also makes the book an irreplaceable masterpiece in American literature.
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