Essay about Huck Finn

Submitted By zbrown125
Words: 553
Pages: 3

African American writer and expatriate, James Baldwin, once said that language is a “key to identify” and social acceptance. Different continents, countries, and states are inhabited by residents who speak in different dialects. Although these dialects may define where a person stands in a hierarchal pyramid, they are not a “key to identify.” Educated people are perceived as having power; however The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, epitomizes situations where the most powerless, and illiterate people have the most morality. Additionally, what may be seen as socially acceptable may not actually be the most ethical decision. The protagonists in the novel, Huck Finn, an orphaned, illiterate boy, and Jim, an illiterate runaway slave, illustrate how language has the ability to hide a person’s true identity. Huckleberry Finn embarks on a journey down the Mississippi River to rid himself of his drunk, abusive father, Pap. Along the journey, Huck meets up with Jim, a runaway slave. During the time period when a runaway was found, most socially accepted, educated people knew “it” should be returned to “its” owner. Huck, a boy who received little to no education, was unsure about his position about what to do with Jim. Because Huck is not really educated, he doesn’t exactly view the world as an educated person would. James Baldwin said that language “could be dangerous, even fatal”. Huck’s ultimate decision to help Jim escape puts his life in danger. Huck’s illiteracy helps the reader understand Huck’s true intentions and identity. He could be perceived as a stupid, incompetent boy, but his illiterateness proves his lack of an educated morale. Although at this time mortality in a sense may not have been socially acceptable, Huck shows that he knows the difference between right and wrong. Additionally, Jim is seen as being on the very bottom of the hierarchal pyramid. He is viewed as apart of the dregs of society. Being a slave, Jim has not had the ability to uptake an education thus also being illiterate. His dialect however is very deceiving. In the novel, Jim could be looked at as a father figure for Huck.