The Importance of Friendship in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnAristotle was once asked what he thought friendship was. His response was, “One soul inhabiting two bodies.” This was the kind of relationship that Huckleberry Finn and Jim shared in Mark Twain’s epic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel is a tool that Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemmons, was using to impress the great benefits of friendship upon society. However, others feel that Clemmons was using this book for another motive, to promote racism and ever since The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, there have been people trying to ban it from public bookshelves and trying to remove it from required reading lists, alleging that it promoted racism. This was not Mark Twain’s motive; rather, he was trying to show how the prejudices that society places upon people could be overcome by friendship.
Mark Twain’s novel has caused much controversy from the beginning. In 1885, the year the book was published, the Concord, Massachusetts Public Library banned the book and described it as “trash and suitable only for the slums” (Haight 1). Other than saying that the book was trash, the library did not express any reason for the book’s banning, but it can be assumed that the reason was racism. The complaints did not end there: in New York City, seventy-two years later, Twain’s publication found itself “dropped from a list of approved books for senior and junior high schools, partly because of objection to frequent use of the term ‘nigger’ and famed character ‘Nigger Jim,'” (2). The statement from New York showed from where the popular misconception of Twain’s intent comes; the usage of the word, “nig…
…t Huck and Jim shared, Huckleberry probably would have never seen Jim as an equal. Huck and Jim showed that friendship is so powerful that it can overcome any obstacle, even prejudices created by society – this was the message that Mark Twain was promoting, and certainly cannot be counted as offensive to anyone.
The classic tale of Huck and Jim’s travels down the Mississippi River dealt with many complex issues, but the most important of these is friendship. This is what Mark Twain was promoting, not racism. Friendship does not need to be banned from our society; neither does The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
American Library Association. “Challenged and Banned Books.”
Haight, Anne Lyon & B., Chandler. “‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn.'”
Phan, Giang & Nguyen, Diep. “Pro Huck Finn.”
Twain, Mark. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”