The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin is surrounded by controversy from various individuals, each claiming their piece. There are those who claim that the book is aimed at propagating racial prejudice with other refuting these claims strongly. What is certain, however, is that the theme of racism is quite prevalent. The writer of the novel uses his exemplary writing skills to communicate to the reader. The interpretation, therefore, is all relative. It varies from depending on the reader’s understanding.
The novel is written in vernacular. This one thing proves some extent of racism in it. The world comprises of various languages some of which are native. Various countries, however, have formulated a standard language of instruction, which varies from place to place. The use of vernacular in the novel, therefore, raises eyebrows on the actual intention of the writer. It is seen, as if the writer may have had the intention to propagate racial prejudice and discrimination. There are questions here, as to why the writer did not use English as he wrote the novel.
There is also the use of racial slur in the novel. The writer uses such words as “niggar”, which apparently show that there is some aspect of racism in it. The word is used to describe the dark skinned persons who live in America, and therefore, we cannot rule out the actual presence of racism in the novel. Such words are being discouraged in the world today, as they have been known to spur violence in prior years. They have also brought about lots of rivalry between people, since the mention of such a name is interpreted as being contemptuous and egoistic towards the person being called.
The novel also has aspects of slavery in it. This also indicates that the writer had the intention to propagate racism. This is because slavery initially was known to exist between people of different races. Slaves were, for instance, obtained from Africa and shipped towards America, where they worked on farms as slaves. This is actually the origin of the dark-skinned Americans we have today. We find Huck being used as a slave by his father, who happens to be a drunkard and is violent. The aspect of violence here is what brings in the issue of slavery. Huck is forced to run away from his father’s place to seek rescue elsewhere, since he feels he is not secure. He later meets Jim, who also happens to be suffering from a similar problem. His master intends to sell him into slavery for a better negotiation. This makes him run away from that abode.
The book, therefore, could harm racial relations. This is, for instance, among students who, after reading the book and finding all racial slurs in it, may want to use the names on their friends of a different race. This may result into animosity between these two groups of people and may actually spike up violence between them. The use of a word like “niggar” has had harmful effects, even in the modern world, where claims of racial abuse are raised after this word is used on a person who takes it as offensive.
On the other hand, the book may not at all harm the race relations. This is because there is a good fiction in the novel, which intention is to entertain the reader. The novel speaks about two characters i.e. Huck and Jim both of whom are in problems in their lives. They, however, struggle to relieve themselves from their problems. The writer’s intention, therefore, may be to encourage those that are in afflictions, and to give them hope that something better will surely come their way. He mentions Huck and all that he goes through, including living with a violent drunkard who is also his father. This is a lesson that life is not easy. There are challenges to expect every day in our lives, and so we ought to live with that in mind. Huck goes to the extent of faking his murder, and leaves people wallowing in his loss. He does this just to obtain the freedom which for a long time he has lacked.
The idea of slavery is discouraged in the novel greatly. The writer depicts it as something distasteful. He narrates the story of Huck and Jim and the way both of them run away from their father and master respectively so that they can have the freedom they want. The writer, therefore, emphasizes that freedom is important, and no wonder that both Jim and Huck want it. Huck runs away from home and goes to an island, where he lives alone after his violent father, who is also a drunkard, makes life hard for him. Jim, on the other hand, is running away from a master who is sly and cunny, and who wants to negotiate a better price for him. It, therefore, occurs that the writer may not have intended to harm race relations.
The writer also emphasizes the importance of love and friendship in life. This is seen when Huck and Jim live together in the island and work towards a common goal, freedom. The two support each other, so that none of them feels lonely in the island. The book, therefore, depicts to the reader that it is important to cultivate friendship, since it is the basis of progress. Huck and Jim would have, otherwise, been very lonely people while at the island (Twain, 2009).
The novel may be seen to have a direct effect on racial relations. This is by the mention of slavery and the entire racial slur that has been used. The intention of the writer, however, is not to spur up any form of racial enmity. He educates the reader on the importance of fighting for his or her freedom and the advantages of having close friends like Huck and Jim were.