Guide Was Huck Black?: Mark Twain and African-American Voices (Oxford Paperbacks)

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  1. Éléments bibliographiques
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  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Analysing its Racial Context and Reception | The Artifice?

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Very Good: A book that does not look new and has been read but is in excellent condition. From Ellison to Hemingway, Huck Finn is considered one of the greatest American novels of all time--it was the first book to allow blacks to find their own voices, as well as the foundation of all modern American literature. But where did the book come from and what makes it so distinctive? Shelley Fisher Fishkin argues that in Huckleberry Finn, more than in any other work, Mark Twain let African-American voices, language, and rhetorical traditions play amajor role in the creation of his art.

Budd, Professor Emeritus of English, Duke University, "Here is that rarity in criticism, a monograph almost sure to be definitive Fishkin shows, with formidable scholarship, how black speech and life influenced white culture and how, in American literature, the Twain do indeed meet.

She brings the material together with lucidity, elegance, and anon-polemical judiciousness and poise. Shelley Fisher Fishkin's articulate and timely argument is a stunning piece of detective work. She breathes new life into Ralph Ellison's claim that 'the black man [is] a co-creator of the language that Mark Twainraised to the level of literary eloquence. She brings the material together with lucidity, elegance, and a non-polemical judiciousness and poise.

Éléments bibliographiques

Changing the term erases our ability to see into that time and understand why that term was used. That word is hateful, violent, derogatory, yes, but ignoring that word, erasing it from literature erases an aspect of its history. Although the story of Huck Finn touched upon the racial issues of that time; possibly, in hopes of bringing attention to social problems, it also became part of the problem.

Huck Finn was a great story that was written at a time when it was posh to be offended at social ills without having to do anything to bring about change. It seems to me that you answer your introductory question within the first paragraph or two of your article.

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But very interesting thoughts. I agree. As the narrative progresses, readers become invested in the lives and adventures of the characters and Twain showed it was possible for a friendship between Finn and Jim to develop. Twain substitutes the racial stereotype for an actual human being and illustrates that there is and should be no difference of how people are treated. Context is everything. Not only does it change the tone and meaning of creative works, it runs the risk of putting a damper on the act of creation.

We can wring our hands over the words used in a historical novel, or we can direct our attention toward actual wrongs against minorities in the real world. If Twain were to remove the offensive slurs prominent throughout the novel he would not be representing the south, during that time, in a truthful manner. At first, Finn does treat Jim like a piece of property, but slowly engages him in a more humanistic manner.

This is a story that aptly reflects racial tensions alongside a coming-of-age tale that describes the young protagonist as creating his own system of beliefs. What took place in the South was ugly, and prejudices were common.


This difficulty in discerning what Finn has been taught to believe, and what he sees with his own eyes, and feels in his conscience, is the aspect that makes this work beautiful and poignant. But I completely agree with you that throughout the narrative Jim is humanized more and more as Huck begins to see him as an equal. It makes no sense to see racist implications in his usage of a word that was acceptable in his day.

Be careful of hasty generalizations. That word certainly had emotional impact to the population it affected. It was also not a proper word in public discourse. But, you are right in that Twain did not intend to reinforce the racism. His use draws attention to the dehumanization.

MT wrote from a sociological perspective and one from a very vivid reality. Today I appreciate diverse styles of writing. Twain is a natural storyteller. As a teacher, I find these genres of books to be great ways to teach themes and history.

Chapter 15 - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

While African-American culture shaped Huckleberry Finn, that novel, in turn, helped shape African-American writing in the twentieth century. As Ralph Ellison commented in an interview with Fishkin, Twain "made it possible for many of us to find our own voices. Our excellent value books literally don't cost the earth. Free delivery in Australia Read more here. Every used book bought is one saved from landfill. Additional information Sku GOR Title Was Huck Black?

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Condition Used - Very Good. Binding type Paperback. Publisher Oxford University Press Inc. Year published