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slavery institution and Huck Finn


Huck Finn's relationship with slavery is very complex and often contradictory. He has been brought up to accept slavery. He can think of no worse crime than helping to free a slave. Despite this, he finds himself on the run with Jim, a runaway slave, and doing everything in his power to protect him. Huck Finn grew up around slavery. His father is a violent racist, who launches into tirades at the idea of free blacks roaming around the countryside. Miss Watson owns slaves, including Jim, so that no matter where he goes, the idea of blacks as slaves is reinforced. The story takes place during the 1840's, at a time when racial tensions were on the rise, as northern abolitionists tried to stir up trouble in the South. This prompted a backlash from Southerners, which entrenched the institution more than ever. Huck Finn could not be against slavery, because if he were, he would be a traitor to the South and its way of life. Huck's first moral dilemma comes when he meets Jim on Jackson Island.
Huck's initial reaction on hearing of Jim's escape is one of shock, he could not believe someone could run away from his master. Huck does promise to keep his secret, however, despite knowing that "people will call him a low-down abolitionist and despise him for keeping mum". Although Huck disagrees vehemently with the idea of runaway slaves, he quite likes Jim, and so warns him that dogs are coming on to the island. This shows that Huck's heart and Huck's mind are often in disagreement with one another when it comes to the issue of slavery. Despite being good friends with Jim, Huck does not hide his obvious prejudice against blacks. Because blacks are uneducated, he sees them as stupid and stubborn. He frequently tells stories to Jim, mainly about foreign kings and history. When Jim disagrees with Huck, Jim becomes very stubborn and refuses to listen to explanations. Huck eventually concludes, "You can't learn a nigger to argue". Jim also seems to accept that whites are naturally superior to blacks. He knows that Huck is far smarter than he is. When Tom Sawyer and Huck are planning an elaborate breakout for Jim, he allows their outrageous plan to continue because they "was white folks and knowed better than him". This mutual acceptance of whites as superior to blacks shows how deeply rooted slavery was in Southern culture. This made it very difficult for Huck to help Jim. When Tom Sawyer says he will help free Jim, Huck is very disappointed. He had never thought that Tom Sawyer, of all people, would be a "nigger stealer". Huck had always considered Tom respectable and educated, and yet Tom was prepared to condemn himself to damnation by freeing a runaway slave. This confuses Huck greatly, who no longer knows what to think about his situation with Jim. When Huck is forced to make a decision regarding slavery, he invariably sides with his emotions. Huck does not turn Jim in, despite having several chances. His best chance to do what he believes is right comes as they are rafting towards Cairo, Illinois. Huck finally manages to convince himself that turning in Jim is the only way to clear his conscience, and so he sets off towards shore to tell the authorities. Before he has gone halfway, a skiff with slave hunter stops him and asks if the man aboard Huck's raft is black or white. This is the perfect opportunity for Huck to do what he, as a white southerner, should do. Instead, he tells them that the only man aboard is his father, who has smallpox.
Later in the story, he writes Miss Watson a letter revealing Jim's whereabouts. As he is about to send it, however, he remembers all Jim and he have been through together; how he is Jim's only friend in the world. Finally Huck remarks "All right then, I'll go to Hell," and tears up the letter. These scenes confirm for the reader that Huck does not have the heart to betray a friend, black or white. Huckleberry Finn has a very complicated relationship with the concept of slavery. Being a ... more

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Cuba's Politics

While the isle of Cuba was initially discovered on October 27, 1492 during one
of Columbus first voyages, it wasnt actually claimed by Spain until the
sixteenth century. However, its tumultuous beginnings as a Spanish sugar
colony provides an insightful backdrop into the very essence of the countrys
political and economic unrest. From its early revolutionary days to the
insurrectional challenge of the Marxist-Leninist theories emerged the
totalitarian regime under Fidel Castro in present day Cuba. Cuban colonial
society was distinguished by the characteristics of colonial societies in
general, namely a stratified, inegalitarian class system; a poorly
differentiated agricultural economy; a dominant political class made up of
colonial officers, the clergy, and the military; an exclusionary and elitist
education system controlled by the clergy; and a pervasive religious system.1
Cubas agrarian monocultural character, economically dependant upon sugar
cultivation, production and export severely restricted its potential for growth
as a nation, thereby firmly implanting its newly sprouted roots firmly in the
trenches of poverty from the very beginning of the countrys existence. In
1868, Cuba entered in to The Ten Years War against Spain in a struggle for
independence, but to no avail. Ten years of bitter and destructive conflict
ensued, but the goal of independence was not achieved. Political divisions among
patriot forces, personal quarrels among rebel military leaders, and the failure
of the rebels to gain the backing of the United States, coupled with stiff
resistance from Spain and the Cubans inability to carry the war in earnest to
the western provinces, produced a military stalemate in the final stages.2 The
war had a devastating effect on an already weak economic and political
infrastructure. The defeat, however, did not hinder the resolution of the Cuban
proletariat for an independent nation. In the words of one author, The Cubans
ability to wage a costly, protracted struggle against Spain demonstrated that
proindependence sentiment was strong and could be manifested militarily. On the
other hand, before any effort to terminate Spanish control could succeed,
differences over slavery, political organization, leadership, and military
strategy had to be resolved. In short, the very inconclusiveness of the war left
a feeling that the Cubans could and would resume their struggle until their
legitimate political objectives of independence and sovereignty were attained.3
The years following the Ten Years War were harsh and austere. The
countryside, ravaged and desolate, bankrupted Spanish sugar interests in Cuba,
virtually destroying the industry. The Spanish owners sold out to North American
interests, a process accelerated by the final abolition of slavery in Cuba in
1886.4 The end of slavery, naturally, meant the end of free labor. The sugar
growers, therefore, began to import machinery from the United States.
Essentially, Cuba deferred its economic dependence from Spain directly to the
U.S. What became known as the American Sugar Refining Company supplied from
seventy to ninety percent of all sugar consumed by the United States, thus
mandating the direction of the Cuban agricultural industry and thereby
controlling its economy. Moreover, the United States interventionism in the
Cuban-Spanish war in 1898, motivated primarily by interests in the Cuban market,
led the surrender of the Spanish army directly to the United States, not Cuba.
This war later became known as the Spanish-American War. The leader and
organizer of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, Jose Martis, goal of true
independence was buried without honor in 1898.5 In the years from 1902 to 1959,
following the institution of the Platt Amendment, which was an amendment to the
Cuban constitution, that stated that the United States had the right to
intervene in Cuba at any time, a period which came to be termed the Pseudo
Republic ensued. In the words of General Wood: Of course, Cuba has been left
with little or no independence by the Platt Amendment...The Cuban Government
cannot enter into certain treaties without our consent, nor secure loans above
certain limits, and it must maintain the sanitary conditions that have been
indicated. With the control that we have over Cuba, a control which, without
doubt, will soon turn her into our possession, soon we will practically control
the sugar market in the world. I believe that it is a very desirable acquisition
for the United States. The island will gradually be Americanized, and in
the due course we will have one of the most rich and desirable possessions
existing in the entire world...6 The Great Depression however, had a immense
impact on United States holdings of the Cuban sugar industry. In the summer
and fall of 1920 when the price of sugar fell from twenty-two cents a pound to
three ... more

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