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Prejudice and Racism in Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn: The Immorality of Racism

A majority of people in American society believe that school systems must teach children that racism is morally wrong. Often, however, tension has builds over how to teach this important lesson. Unfortunately, a controversy has built over the teaching of Huckleberry Finn. Although some believe that Mark Twains’ novel perpetuates racist feelings, in fact Twain uses the characters to demonstrate the immorality of slavery. Miss Watson and Pap, the reprehensible objects of Twains’ satire, demonstrate the racist views that society takes towards slaves. The slave Jim, who may appear stereotypically ignorant, in reality represents the true goodness and humanity which society impedes upon with its racist views. Huck shares the racist views about slaves until his friendship with Jim teaches him what Twain, himself, believes: that those society refers to as “niggers” deserve to be perceived as intelligent and honorable individuals. Huckleberry Finn should be incorporated into the curriculum of school systems because it is imperative that teachers instill the immorality of racism into the youth they teach.

Most believe that Twain uses satire to portray the immorality of racism, however some assume that the common slanders in Huckleberry Finn are used to portray that Twain is a racist himself. It is also a common argument that the book should not be taught to students of certain ethnicities due to the harsh language Twain uses. Due to the fact that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a children’s book and prequel to Huckleberry Finn, many children may inadvertently pick up Huckleberry Finn believing that it is also a children’s book. Twain, however did fail to …

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… racism is immoral. Huckleberry Finn proves a statement that T.S. Elliot suggests, that Huck, “Has not imagination in the sense that Tom Sawyer has it: he has instead, vision. He sees the real world; and he does not judge it- he allows it to judge itself” (349). This quote also portrays Twain’s point of view, one similar to that of Huck, which may lead one to think that Huck’s character is taken from Twain’s.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark.The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 3rd ed. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: Norton, 1999.

Eliot, T.S. “Introduction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By Mark Twain. 3rd ed. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: Norton, 1999. 348-354.

Morrison, Toni. “This Amazing, Troubling Book”. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By Mark Twain. 3rd ed. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: Norton, 1999. 385-392.

Essay on Gregor as Christ in Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Gregor as Christ in Kafka’s Metamorphosis

In his “Metamorphosis”, Kafka utilizes an allegorical technique to compare Gregor’s sacrifices to those of Jesus in the Bible. Ultimately, both Gregor and Jesus sacrifice their lives so that they can help their loved ones, despite betrayal. Kafka uses this biblical allegory to illustrate Gregor’s Christ-like actions.

In the Bible, God, sacrifices his only son, a respectable, revered “heavenly” figure, allowing Jesus to live amongst sinful people. In human form, Jesus treats the common people’s illnesses and performs miracles to help them; above all, he cares for them and loves them. Jesus is selfless, endlessly devoting himself to helping and serving others, and ensuring that they will have a better life by showing them “the way” to God. Jesus sacrifices his life in heaven to come to Earth and help his people.

Just as Jesus makes personal sacrifices to help his people, Gregor similarly sacrifices his dreams and happiness to provide a good life for his family. Gregor’s life revolves around his job as a travelling salesman. He is committed to his work, although he dislikes his job, “what a gruelling job I’ve picked. If I didn’t hold back for my parents’ sake, I would have quit long ago” (4). Gregor’s life lacks comfort and joy; he is constantly travelling, and is unable to form quality relationships. However, he sacrifices his dreams for future happiness so that he can provide for his family. As the sole ‘breadwinner’ of his family, Gregor keeps only a few dollars from his paycheque each month, using the rest to pay family debts and sending the money home to his parents. His family is completely dependent on him for financial security, and Gregor’s generosity preven…

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…trayed by his family, he is imprisoned in his room; however, he “thought back on his family with deep emotion and love”. His affection for his family results in his conviction that he must disappear, so that he can bring them happiness and peace. Gregor sacrifices his life and dies during the night to save his family from hardship. He loves them unconditionally, like Jesus loves his people, and does not criticise them for betraying and mistreating him. Gregor’s final sacrifice of his life is the strongest comparison of his Christ-like attributes.

In Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” Gregor’s sacrifices are shown to be Christ-like by the horrible treatment he receives from others, his betrayal by his family, and his selfless reactions and eventual death.

Works Cited:

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. and ed. Stanley Corngold. New York: Bantam, 1972.

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