The first instance of this can be found in chapter one, when Huck observes that the slaves on Miss Watson’s property are invited inside before bedtime to join their masters in prayer (Twain 5).
Through Huck’s observation of this occurrence, Twain makes clear from the beginning that the “good intentions” of such customs are overshadowed by prevailing racism and hypocrisy.
Thus, despite the numerous attempts of critics who have tried to remove the novel from high school curricula, it is clear that the novel should not be removed from high school American literature classes because these satirical condemnations provide a reflection of racist society that, when presented in the correct context, may be both eye-opening and beneficial to all readers.
From the novel’s opening chapter, the reader is introduced to the first way in which Twain uses satire to criticize racism in Southern white society: his ironic portrayal of racist customs held by those whom Huck encounters.
Despite this contradiction, however, one Twain scholar, Nat Hentoff, describes the pair’s relationship in a solely positive light, claiming that Huck’s ability to see beyond the barriers of Jim’s color is a prominent force throughout the novel: “Look at Huck Finn.
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Reared in racism, like all the white kids in his town.
Despite all of Huck’s development up to this point, his newfound tolerance is essentially reversed once Tom Sawyer returns.
At this point, Huck again becomes a mere follower of Tom’s ideas, and he simply goes along with Tom’s blatantly impractical and subtly racist viewpoints at the expense of Jim’s freedom and overall wellbeing.
This comment embodies the complexity of the relationship between the two characters.
On the one hand, the pair’s journey down the Mississippi breaks down many of Huck’s misconceptions about Jim and Jim’s race.