The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn

The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn

The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn

The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn

Synopsis

An eloquent defense of Jim, Twain, & the use of Huckleberry Finn in the classroom.

Excerpt

Blacks are the murderers, the rapists, the gang-bangers, where everything that is negative is [sic] society, why do I have to go to school and be Jim too? Because whenever I read about the slave who is gullible and stupid, that [stereotype] becomes a reflection of me, too.

Doron Flake, student, New Haven, Connecticut, public schools

We're tired of Nigger Jim sittin' in . . .

picket sign, Cathy Monterio, parent of a student in Tempe, Arizona

Much debate has surrounded Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn since its publication in 1885, but none has been more pervasive, explosive, and divisive than that surrounding the issue of race. Many who do not view the book as racist often see only Jim's humanity and "pal" relationship with Huck. Others, however, view the text as "the most grotesque example of racist trash ever written" and see African Americans as dehumanized, objectified, and stereotyped (Wallace, Editorial 146). Yet a third group has emerged to assert that Twain's book represents, as black poet and author Langston Hughes observes, "a conscious (re)visioning of the South and the Southern slave." To Hughes, Twain's books "punctured some of the pretenses of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.