Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Race Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
here was a free nigger there from Ohio—a mulatter, most as white as a white man. He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat; and there ain't a man in that town that's got as fine clothes as what he had; and he had a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane—the awful- est old gray-headed nabob in the State. And what do you think? They said he was a p'fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything. And that ain't the wust. They said he could VOTE when he was at home. Well, that let me out. Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to? It was 'lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn't too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where they'd let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I'll never vote agin. (6.11)
Oh, Pap. Like that racist relative who shows up at every family gathering, he just digs himself into a really, really ugly hole. But is he an exception, or is he just saying what almost everyone in the book is thinking?
"Well, it's a blame ridicklous way, en I doan' want to hear no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain' no sense in it."
"Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?" (14.39, 14.40)
Jim can't believe that people speak different languages all over the world, since we're all the same. But if we're all the same, why are some of us enslaved? And why doesn't he seem to make that conceptual leap?
It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way. (15.49)
Huck isn't happy about having to apologize to a black man, but he does it. It's super impressive for the time and place that he ends up apologizing, but we can see that he's still, well, racist—he's just less racist than everyone else. Is Twain holding him up as an example, or does Twain want us to do better?