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Overturning the Notion of White Supremacy in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay discusses how Mark Twain in the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn uses the description of the white American Christian civilization in order to overturn the colonial notion of white supremacy. This is done through juxtaposing the characterization of the people of the white American civilization and the people that are alienated or ‘other’. The Grangerford family, the Widow and Miss Watson, and Colonel Sherburn are brought up as examples of the white American civilization’s hypocrisy and double standard in the novel. The analysis focuses on how these supposedly Christian characters do not follow the Christian ethics and sermon teaching even though they claim to do so. The colonial notion of the white western civilization’s supremacy over other people’s societies is thus overturned by Twain’s description of the immorality of this white American society. As opposed to this, the people who are outside of this society and who do not label themselves as Christians, prove to be those who in reality follow the Christian notion of brotherly love towards everybody, no matter the social standing or skin color of the person in need. Furthermore, Huck’s moral fight whether or not he should continue to help the runaway slave Jim to freedom or turn him in to the slave owner Miss Watson, is crucial. Through the portrait of this inner struggle, Twain pinpoints the absurdity of the supremacy of such an immoral law. The law of society was upheld with an almost religious devotion, and the irony in this works to further overturn the notion of the white American civilization’s supremacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 32 p.
Keyword [en]
American literature, Huckleberry Finn, postcolonialism, white supremacy
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-12100Archive number: HEU:C12:2OAI: diva2:534180
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-07-09 Created: 2012-06-15 Last updated: 2012-07-09Bibliographically approved

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