Surprise: a book set in the pre-Civil War South with a black man as one of the main characters deals with the theme of race. We're shocked. But seriously, Huckleberry Finn tackles some major issues. Remember that, even though slavery had ended by the time Huck Finn was published, the whole country was still deeply racist. Is Twain anti-racist? Does he truly believe that black people are equal to white people, or is he only pointing out the South's hypocrisy? And would Twain have had black friends?
Questions About Race
Is Huck able to overcome the racism of his childhood? Let's say he can't: can you blame him?
How much has Jim assimilated white racism against blacks? What does this do to his character? What does Jim think about black people?
How do Huck and Tom differ in their feelings for and about Jim? What about Jim's feelings for Huck as opposed to for Tom?
What kind of prejudices might you hold that people 150 years from now won't have?
Chew on This
Change shmange. Huck Finn is just as racist at the end of the novel as he is at the beginning.
Huck totally learns his lesson over the course of the novel, and he comes out the other end much more tolerant.