Mark Twain wrote about religion
I. INTRODUCTIONI. INTRODUCTION
Mark Twain wrote about religion, racism and slavery while all showing the hypocrisy of the time. While he was writing the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, Mark Twain was writing in a time where slavery was just made illegal and he wrote the setting of the book in a time period where slavery was still legal. The society at the time of the 1830’s was very hypocritical in many ways. The church members would say they were Christians but wouldn’t live it out. There were even a few instances where Huck himself would display hypocrisy. This shows how the society had an influence on Huck.The society was heading for a downward spiral. With the civil war coming up, there was a lot of tension between the south and north. The southerners believed slavery was right and the northerners disagreed with the southerner’s beliefs. This led to many conflicts with Huck trying to free Jim. Huck wanted to do what he felt was right but also knew the views of his society because he lived in the south. He wanted to go along with the social norm, but he took a leap of faith and it changed his life forever. After his journey with Jim, Huck’s life will never be the same.
II. AUTHORA. Early LifeSamuel L. Clemons was born November 30, 1835 in Florida Missouri. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved the family to the town Hannibal. Twain had to grow up quick because once his father died, Samuel, also known as Mark Twain, needed to help his mother. At the age of 12 and without a father in a time where men ran the house, life was difficult for the family. Life was especially difficult for Samuel as he witnessed two murders before the age of 10. This had an impact on him for the rest of his life. Up until 1857 he worked as a type seller and this is where his passion for writing began. During the civil war he was a part of the Confederate army. After the civil war ended, he moved to Nevada to prospect for gold. After he unsuccessfully prospected for gold, he took up his old writing habits.B. Life’s WorkEven though he lived in the east, he looked west for his values and traditions. He had a different style and appearance from most of the westerners of the time. Samuel Clemons wanted a new name and identity. He didn’t want to be known as Clemons, so he went under the pen name Mark Twain. The first journal he wrote as Mark Twain was The Enterprise. As Clemons grew in fame, more and more people began to recognize him has Twain. From this point on, he wrote the rest of his papers and novels under the pen name Mark Twain.Twain was very financially and socially ambitious. He always wanted more and needed the best. The pressure to make money lead to inferior work and Twain himself noticed this (American Literature). With his bestseller and most know book today, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he continued his writing career and He went on the write many more novels and papers.C. Late LifeTwain was a very independent man. Over the years he accumulated a lot of debt. He bought the rights for a new type machine and it was very successful. He later sold his rights away to make a very high profit, but this did not settle all his debt. Twain still needed money to pay off the rest of his debt, so he went on a 12 month around the world lecture tour to finish paying his debt. In 1898 he was able to pay off the last of his debt in full. After he was able to finally pay off all the money he owed, his life didn’t get any easier. His wife died in 1904 and his daughter moved to Europe in 1909. Despite all his misfortunes in his life, he was able to keep writing. He continued to write many books that grew his popularity in the 1900’s. Twain went on to catch the American dream and he became a very successful author still known today. Even though the road to success wasn’t easy for Twain, he was able to achieve it. He continued to serve the community and help others in need. He returned home to Hannibal for the last time in 1902 to hand out diplomas to high school students. His final trip he went on was to Bermuda for medical treatment. While he was in Bermuda, his heart condition worsened, and he was forced to return home where he died on April 21, 1910.
III. HISTORICAL CONTEXTLiving a rough life along the Mississippi river in the 1830’s and 40’s, Huck knew how to survive. The countryside of the south was uneducated and hypocritical (J.E. Luebering). The south also has a beautiful lush landscape full of wildlife, water falls, and plants. Because of the landscape and climate, the southerners were known for their cotton plantations which lead to slavery. This became a big role in the history in America. Huck grew up in the time of slavery and a lot of division throughout the nation. 20 years after the book took place, The Civil War started and lasted till 1865. The main reason the civil war took place was because of racism and slavery. The southerners at the time were known to be racist and Huck was raised into believe in slavery and racism. When Huck meet Jim, he knew people would disown him for helping him. People did not see the blacks as equal or even human beings. The time period excepted this thought and belief, but they wanted freedom themselves. They were very hypocritical in what they believe and the way they live their lives (Eruskin). They enslaved people with lives and feeling but if anyone tried to take anything of theirs, they would not allow it even though that’s what they did.There was also a strong beauty in the history and the setting of the 1830’s country side. People lived in a different manner at the time and they had a different way of life. They did not have phones, cars, or T. V’s. The only way of communication was through letters or face to face. This is unlike how we live today where we could call or talk to anyone anywhere. Because of this major difference, they had major differences in views of the everyday life. There were many major world events that also took place in the 1830’s and the 1840’s which is the time period when this book took place. All the history and details effected the outcome of the book and the way everything played out in Huck and Jim’s journey.
IV. LITERARY ANALYSIS Religion-Religion is a theme that takes place all throughout the book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The widow Douglas and Miss Watson practiced Christianity deeply, while the other characters practiced it, but didn’t act it out their own pronounced faith. Huck was trying to point out the bad side or religions such as the judgmental and hypocritical people that practice religion. Mark Twain shows contemporary religion as hypocritical and shallow (Online Literature). Huck’s religion changed due to the influence of the widow Douglas and Miss Watson. Hucks’s view on many subjects changed such as why people believe in God and who all can live for God. Miss Watson taught him about prayer and the power it gives. Huck did not believe her and he tried praying and said “but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get. But it warn’t so. I tried it” (Twain 139).Jim was not as excepting to the views of others and he held his sins inside. He was expecting to go to hell in his own mindset. He believed people deserved to go to hell for their sins. He had this point of view on religion because of his past as a slave. As a slave, he never experienced anyone with faith in Jesus. All the slave owners were selfish and had their own thoughts. Hypocrisy- The society and people throughout the book are shown as cowardly and selfish. In the beginning of the novel, a judge granted custody of Huck Finn to his drunken and abusive father. His father, Pap, proved to be a bad guardian and took his anger out towards Huck. Pap did not let Huck educate himself which made it hard for him to communicate.Along his trip, Huck met a lot of people and many of them seemed to be good people, but the more he got to know them, the more he realized they were not as great as he thought. For example, he met Sally Philips which seemed to be a good person until he found out she was a slave owner herself. Huck knew Sally was just like the rest of the racist slave owners. The slave owners would not want to work in the slave fields, but they make others work in them for their own gain. He saw his society as a bunch of hypocrites who wanted better, but they did not try to make a difference.Racism/Slavery- Huck was surrounded by people who disowned blacks and didn’t treat them equally (Twain). Pap, Huck’s father, locked him up in a cabin and treated him like a slave. Even though this mistreatment was scaring towards Huck, it persuaded his decision making while helping Jim. Jim was ripped away from his family and friends as a slave. No one cared for his emotions or well-being. The whites at the time believed blacks were inferior to themselves. They believed just because they were black, they had a different brain. Whites though of blacks more like animals than humans.Huck went on to change the stereotype that blacks are inferior by bringing in Jim as a brother. It took some time for Huck to decide to fully commit to Jim because Huck knew if he turned his back on the society’s views people would disown him, but he would rather go to hell than turn his back on Jim. The love and compassion Huck showed towards Jim was the complete opposite from what the society was expecting him to be. Jim realized Huck was a human being with emotions and a family.
V. CONCLUSIONSlavery, hypocrisy, religion and racism all played a huge role in the time period of Huck and Jim. The book shows the culture’s religion, hypocrisy, and racism all as Mark Twain tried to teach the society about the troubles and dangers of slavery (Bird) Huck and Jim experienced many different trials on their journey to freedom. These trials went on to make them stronger and keep them pushing on. After the adventure Huck went on with Jim, he viewed his society, slavery, religion and hypocrisy in a new way. He had a new respect for blacks and slaves. The society never accepted what Huck did to help Jim at the time, but it was still the right thing to do and that is why Huck helped a friend in need. He put aside other people’s thoughts and did what was right. It would have been easier for Huck to leave Jim and lead him back to his old life of slavery but instead he took the harder path of standing up and making a difference. Because of the decision Huck made, it changed his life forever.