Question: Huckleberry Finn - What does Mark Twain say about slavery in Huckleberry Finn?
What does Mark Twain say about slavery with his novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
Answer: Jim: The Slave Becomes Free Man
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim is Miss Watson's slave. He is a deeply superstitious man, who escapes from his captivity (simultaneously fleeing from the society's restriants). In the epic journey of Jim with Huckleberry Finn down the Mississippi River, Mark Twain portrays Jim as a deeply caring and loyal friend. Jim becomes a father figure to Huck, opening the boy's eyes to the human face of slavery.
Huckleberry Finn: Abused Boy Becomes Enlightened Human Being
Ralph Waldo Ellison said, "Huckleberry Finn knew, as did Mark Twain, that Jim was not only a slave but a human being [and] a symbol of humanity... and in freeing Jim, Huck makes a bid to free himself of the conventionalized evil taken for civilization by the town..." The Education of Slavery?
In Notebook #35, Mark Twain wrote: "In those old slave-holding days the whole community was agreed as to one thing--the awful sacredness of slave property. To help steal a horse or a cow was a low crime, but to help a hunted slave, or feed him or shelter him, or hide him, or comfort him, in his troubles, his terrors, his despair, or hesitate to promptly to betray him to the slave-catcher when opportunity offered was a much baser crime, & carried with it a stain, a moral smirch which nothing could wipe away. That this sentiment should exist among slave-owners is comprehensible--there were good commercial reasons for it--but that it should exist & did exist among the paupers, the loafers the tag-rag & bobtail of the community, & in a passionate & uncompromising form, is not in our remote day realizable. It seemed natural enough to me then; natural enough that Huck & his father the worthless loafer should feel it & approve it, though it seems now absurd. It shows that that strange thing, the conscience--the unerring monitor--can be trained to approve any wild thing you want it to approve if you begin its education early & stick to it."
Read more about what Mark Twain says about slavery.