“We all go through a challenge in life because without a challenge there’d be no reason to keep going toward your future” (Twain put #). This statement in Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, prepares the readers for the universe they are about to enter, with differences and so much more, while reading this book. This quote inspirational, and true because without any troubles in our lives no one would make any changes. It is human nature to have challenges so that we can work through them and learn from them. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, regionalism is, “an emphasis on regional locale and characteristics in art or literature,” and, “a characteristic feature (as of speech) of a geographic area.” This story was written in 1883, and although it was written many years after the Civil War it still has themes of slavery, racism, guilt and even empathy, and is set pre-Civil War. Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain shows human nature, and the mindsets of people from where they live.
A main part of regionalism is the speech of the specific area being depicted. With that being said, Twain was well thought out and smart to have Huck be the narrator in this story. As the narrator, Huck is almost like an interpreter or translator for the book. Through the story, Huck can take parts of the story and his encounters and interpret them so that us readers can pick up and understand what is going on and what it was like in the South. As we know, the Mississippi River was quite a large part of this story because it was Huck and Jim’s escape route. With the river, Huck is the interpreter when he explains the widow. ‘The widow cried over me, …but she never meant no harm by it’ (Twain 109). Any reader not living in this region or during this time would not understand specific things that occur because of the customs of this part of the country. Luckily, Twain was clever enough to have Huck not only be a narrator, but also have him explain what the customs of this region are. Although Huck is able to translate the widow’s actions for us, the readers, Twain goes against the widow for trying to take the river out of Huck, so she is somewhat seen as almost an enemy in some ways because she is trying to rid the distinctiveness of the region that Huck shows and embodies.
Throughout the text, Twain shows us slavery and racism, because even though the Civil War ended, slavery came to an end with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Reconstruction for the south had happened, we cannot forget this story is set pre-Civil War. Simply, from the language used in the story and to describe the character Jim. One example of his description included, ‘Miss Watson’s nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your fist, … and he used to do magic with it” (Twain 118). With this example, it allows for the reader to get more of an understanding time and the area or region where the story takes place. It is easy to see what time it was based on the word choices and language. Some word would not particularly be accepted today. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written only decades after the Civil War and slavery ended, but the prejudices and mindsets toward people of color only just started to change, and in the South, was most likely the same.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was able to touch on many topics, such as slavery, racism, adventure, and guilt. Throughout this paper I was able to show a little piece of how Mark Twain is able to present regionalism so well in his writing. In Huckleberry Finn, Twain was successful in showing the themes I have listed, and was also able to show the readers the Mississippi River brings Huck and Jim both freedom along with all the hostility in the world that surrounds them during this time, especially in the region in which this story takes place. Like in the opening quote, we humans need challenges so that we can learn from them and have a reason to live. Throughout the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Jim have many conflicts that they need to overcome so that they may go toward their futures. I feel as though this Twain piece in particular holds a lot of value to this nation. I say this because Huckleberry Finn is set in pre-Civil War, so it shows us the hardships, the prejudices, and so much more.