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Twain a racist The answers to these questions lie in the examination ofMark Twains life and historical era incidents and character commentsthroughout Huckleberry Finn and reviews by critics of many races Researching the life and times of Mark Twain led to various facts thatnegate the popular opinion that he was racist Born Samuel LanghornClemens on November 30 1835 in Missouri Mark Twain witnessed an eraof accepted slavery and racism Roberts 5 Growing up in the slave state ofMissouri Twains father was a slave trader several times in his manyoccupational ventures After his fathers death Twain spent several summerswith his uncle John Quarles who owned twenty slaves which providedTwain with an up close view of slavery in action Twain was deeply affectedby witnessing the brutal murder of a slave by a rock-throwing white man forthe crime of merely doing something awkward Smith Twain completedHuckleberry Finn in 1884 at a time when black identity in American societywas undefined Even though blacks had been granted citizenship in 1870 bythe 15th Amendment to the Constitution Southern white society still lookedupon them as sub-human creatures without souls or feelings However forhis time Twain was liberal on racial issues The themes of Huckleberry Finnportray Mark Twains unrelenting belief in the equality of all races Although Huckleberry Finn is primarily a novel about freedom and thequest for freedom through the portrayal of the characters Twain depicts thehuman qualities of all regardless of color It details the story of a slave Jimwho breaks the law and risks his life to win his freedom and be reunited withhis family Jim is accompanied by a white boy Huck who befriends him andaids in his escape This storyline of a white boy helping a runaway slave andin the process perceiving Jim as an equal in no way depicts racism and infact lends credence to Twains argument for the equality of all whetherblack or white In order to change Hucks initial misconception of niggerJim Twain
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