Racial attitudes in Melville’s 'Benito Cereno' and Twain’s 'Huckleberry Finn'

Examination Thesis, 2008

53 Pages, Grade: 1,0



1. Introduction

2. The Racial Attitudes of Herman Melville and Mark Twain
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Herman Melville
2.3 Mark Twain

3. Analysis of Benito Cereno
3.1 Racist Attitudes in Benito Cereno
3.2 Narrative Perspective in Benito Cereno
3.3 Benito Cereno as an Exploration of the White Racist Mind

4. Analysis of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
4.1 Huckleberry Finn as a Racist Novel
4.2 Literary Techniques in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
4.3 Huckleberry Finn as an Indictment of Slavery and Racism

5. Conclusion

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

The treatment of African Americans has always been a major issue in the history of the United States of America. After the abolition of slavery in 1865 and the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 60s, the year 2008 could become an important landmark in the development of race relations in the USA. For the first time a black man, Barack Obama, is very close to becoming the new President of the United States in the November election. Apart from party political issues, this could be a groundbreaking step in the ongoing process of giving full equality to the blacks, which has still not been completed.

The American literature is a reflection of the socio-political developments in the different stages of the history of the country, and especially slavery is a crucial topic in it. Many works dealing with slavery have been published in the 19th, 20th and 21st century, and some of them have sparked debates that are not only on literary issues. Two of these are Herman Melville’s (1819-1891) Benito Cereno[1] (1855) and Mark Twain’s (1835-1910, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). These two novels are often seen as major works in American literary history, and their authors are among the country’s most celebrated. Both books have in common that their stories play in the time before the abolition of slavery. Benito Cereno deals with a slave revolt on a ship, while Huckleberry Finn depicts the adventures of its eponymous hero and a runaway slave, Jim. Another feature the novels share is the fact that both have been charged to contain racist and pro-slavery attitudes. This paper will evaluate and analyze these assertions in order to show that they are false because they are based on misunderstandings. It aims to provide a profound delineation of the racial attitudes in the two novels.

The assumption here is that neither Melville nor Twain wrote racist novels. This shall be proven with the help of a close analysis of the narrative perspectives and literary devices used in the books. Both of the stories, as will be shown later, are told by narrators that are far from being easy to grasp without a deeper examination of their character and function. A comprehensive insight into these appears to be beneficial for a better understanding of both of the novels.

The present paper will begin with an exploration of the individual attitudes of the two authors. Although the knowledge of writers’ opinions can never be used as the sole key to a literary work’s interpretation, it can still be helpful to gain an insight into his ideas about the world he or she depicts in his or her fiction. After this, the two novels will be dealt with separately. In a first step, the assertions about each one’s racism will be delineated. Then, the narrative perspectives and other literary techniques will be thoroughly analyzed. In a last step, the novels’ racism will be evaluated with the help of the insights gained about the techniques used. It shall be shown that in the light of this, neither Benito Cereno nor Huckleberry Finn are racist books.

In this paper, the terms ‘racism’ and ‘slavery’ are used alternately without any announcement of this, but never interchangeably. On the one hand this is because it is often done the same way in the secondary literature consulted, and on the other hand it is because the two issues are very closely linked in any case. ‘Slavery’ usually includes the notion of the inferiority of the enslaved people or race, so that racism is inherent here. ‘Racism’ is an attitude and can also be a practice that results from it. While both novels are set in slaveholding societies, their authors spent all or most of their live outside of such. This also applies to a great deal to their readership. For contemporary readers the question of attitude towards race is more important than the one towards, because in their societies slavery does not exist anymore. However, an analysis of how slavery is treated at the same time reveals more about the racist attitudes in the novels.

2. The Racial Attitudes of Herman Melville and Mark Twain

2.1 Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the racial ideas of Herman Melville and Mark Twain. In literary studies the focus generally lies on the text itself, however, the knowledge of an author’s attitude derived from his work or private writings can help to give a sense of direction and primary speculations that later lead to proper interpretations. Without an idea of where an author stands, it can be difficult in many cases to spot where he is being ironical in his fiction, or to realize that he is distancing himself from one of his protagonists. Therefore, gaining insight into an author’s mind is often worthwhile. Nevertheless, an interpretation based on biographical data should not be overestimated and can never be the sole approach to a work of literature.

2.2 Herman Melville

Many of Melville’s works contain black characters or deal with people’s bondage, but surprisingly in his personal correspondence he never made any references to slavery or the situation of the blacks,[2] or openly commented on this topic.[3] There is much material to be found about his family and surroundings, but little about his inward experience. Not even his friends or fellow artists shed light on this issue, which makes Melville a difficult subject for any biographer.[4] Thus, the most common approach to obtain a picture of Melville’s attitude towards slavery and racism has usually been to evaluate his fiction.[5] This approach appears to be valuable to understand Benito Cereno better as well.[6]

The fact that fiction has to be dealt with to find out someone’s real world attitudes creates further difficulties, as there is always room for interpretation. For example, if Benito Cereno is not seen as an indictment of slavery, and its anti-slavery stance is put into doubt,[7] Melville might not be recognized as the abolitionist that many researchers think he was.

Due to his muteness on his views, the only approach that can be offered to explore Melville’s racial attitudes is trying to find corresponding ideas and comments in his works. Critics have to take his supposed views on the subject from his fiction and draw conclusions that cannot be backed up by private commentaries. The same way as biographical facts cannot be used to support literary interpretations without careful analysis, literary works as the only clue to a writer’s personal opinion are also problematic tools.

One probable reason why Melville never spoke out openly against slavery, and definitely an interesting note, can be found in his family relations. His father-in-law, Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw of Massachusetts, was an important person in his life. After the death of Melville’s own father, Shaw was not only a father figure to him but also supported him and his family.[8] Chief Justice Shaw sent the escaped slave Thomas Sims back south to his master in 1851, being the first Northern judge to enact the recently passed Fugitive Slave Law.[9] Some critics assume that Melville must have disagreed with his father-in-law, but to avoid betraying his mentor and causing trouble in the family, he preferred not to address the issue of slavery openly and directly.[10] However, this view is not shared by all critics: There are direct comments in Melville’s works, and he made them despite his relation to Shaw.[11] Interestingly, the letters between Shaw and Melville do not contain any references to Shaws work,[12] and so the idea that Melville put family before political opinion receives some support.[13]

At least, there is wide agreement among contemporary scholars on how Melville’s works have to be understood concerning slavery and racism. Yet, there is still doubt about the question how strongly he wanted to make these topics the center of attention.[14] Many examples can be found in his works, as

in almost every piece of fiction Melville wrote, he addressed himself directly or indirectly […] to refuting the racist assumptions that justified slavery in the South and racial discrimination throughout the United States.[15]

Some instances of Melville’s literary work representing his view on slavery and racism are described in the following paragraphs.

In his literary debut, the autobiographical Typee (1846), Melville’s narrator directly confronts the canibalism of island natives with the brutal treatments of convicts in enlightened England, making clear with his comments that there is not much difference between ‘savage’ blacks and civilized whites,[16] calling “the white civilized man […] the most ferocious animal on the face of the earth”.[17]

Melville’s probably “most explicit attack on slavery”[18] can be found in his novel Mardi (1849). In an allegorical trip through the fictitious Republic of Vivenza (the United States of America), a country of free and equal men, the narrator has to find out that there are some people, the Hamo, that are not free at all. Ironically, these slaves are forced to build a Temple of Freedom, and Melville does not conceal his opposition to slavery, which is called “a blot, foul as the crater pool of hell” in the novel.[19] Nevertheless, there is a problem for Melville that will be echoed later in Benito Cereno: The philosopher Babbalanja expresses that war against slavery “would be a greater evil than slavery itself”.[20] This is one of the reasons why some critics do not regard Melville as an abolitionist although, as Eleanor E. Simpson states, “to chide Melville for this position is to assume that his characters’ opinions are his own, certainly a doubtful assumption”.[21] Carolyn L. Karcher sees this tendency in any of his works whenever there is a rebellion: Melville shows a strong distaste for tyranny and oppression, but violent means to end them are barely an acceptable solution for him.[22]

While there are, despite the indictments of slavery, some racial stereotypes in Typee and Mardi, the 1849 novel Redburn turns to a more realistic view of blacks and has also much to say about slavery in the United States. The protagonist is surprised to see the treatment of blacks in Liverpool, England: Here, black men have social contact with white women, something that would certainly provoke violence in America. This incident and many others show the protagonist that the blacks are equally treated as humans, carrying out the principles of the Declaration of Independence that the Americans are not ready to enact.[23] In Melville’s works from Redburn onward, parallels can be found between the situation of the blacks in America and exploited groups of other races. In Redburn and White-Jacket (1850), the white protagonists are faced with the same discrimination supposed to be reserved for blacks. Furthermore, Ishmael in Moby Dick (1851) is faced with difficulties determining the racial identites of some of his fellow men, and in The Confidence-Man (1857) the racial lines between black and white characters are even blurred altogether.[24]

It is also Ishmael in Melville’s masterpiece who probably shows the most liberal attitude towards blacks. First, he is scared as he faces to sleep in one bed with the savage Queequeg, but then he realizes that the latter is a human being like himself and finally throws all his prejudice over board.[25] Ishmael’s behavior is more advanced than that of most abolitionists ever was.[26]

The examples above provide evidence to conclude that Melville definitely had enlightened views on the issue of the blacks in America and a liberal attitude towards this race all over the world. As a writer he never preached against slavery or racism openly, but he carefully wove comments about this topic into his literature. His great interest lay in humanity apart from all class and race.[27] Still, there is much doubt about his ideas towards possible solutions to the problem of slavery, as violent rebellion apparently was something he loathed almost as much as the oppression itself.

An analysis of Benito Cereno should help to shed some further light on Melville’s attitude, while at the same time this overview provides a sense of direction to the interpretation of the novel.

2.3 Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s views on race and slavery are a matter of ongoing dispute among scholars. Numerous comments can be found on this topic in his private and literary writings, but he often contradicts himself.[28] Many of these comments are open to interpretation and his authorial intentions are far from being obvious.[29]

Most scholars describe Twain’s attitudes in the early years of his adult life as racist.[30] As can be seen in his private notes from the 1860s, he frequently used to tell ‘nigger’ jokes and claimed to be of the opinion that the American society should be divided into logical classes: Men, women and ‘niggers’, exploiting the offense for humor’s sake.[31] Earlier, his comments were even more fierce: When he went to the East in the 1850s and was confronted with the free black people there; he wrote to his mother in August 1853: “I reckon I had better black my face, for in these Eastern States niggers are considerably better than white people”.[32] Being in the free states for the first time, Twain apparently felt uncomfortable, compared to how he felt in the pro-slavery society of his home.[33] From such evidence of his young adult life it is possible to deduct the idea that Mark Twain was a racist then. He appears to have been a product of his surroundings, but changed in later life.[34]

He grew up in a society in which almost everyone, including his family, owned slaves and in which even the Church supported this institution.[35] While this does not excuse his derogatory racist language, this at least helps to understand how an enlightened man like Twain could condone of such an inhuman institution as slavery. He did not question it back then. When looking back later, his memories were not directed at the cruelty of the institution, but at how mildly it had been practised in his surroundings. When writing about the relationship of his mother with slavery, Twain describes what was typical of the time and the people in his region, without concealing his attitude towards slavery at the time of writing. Nevertheless, he is defensive:

As I have said, we lived in a slaveholding community; indeed, when slavery perished, my mother had been in daily touch with it for sixty years. Yet, kind-hearted and compassionate as she was, I think she was not conscious that slavery was a bald, grotesque and unwarrantable usurpation. She had never heard it assailed I any pulpit but she heard it defended and sanctified in a thousand; […] as far as her experience went, the wise and the good and the holy were unanimous in the convicion that slavery was right […]. [T]here was nothing about the slavery of the Hannibal region to rouse one’s dozing humane instincts to activity. It was the mild domestic slavery, not the brutal plantation article.[36]

Twain recalls having had a very good relationship with his uncle Quarles’s slave ‘Uncle Dan’l’, and that he acquired a strong liking of blacks during his time on his uncle’s farm.[37] A contradiction to what he wrote to his mother is clearly visible in his retrospective comments about his youth: “The black face is as welcome to me now as it was then”.[38] He had friendships with black youngsters, but “color and condition interposed a subtle line which both parties were conscious of”.[39]

These comments from Twain give an impression of the problem when dealing with his early views on blacks and slavery: It is difficult to say if his clearly racist remarks were a result of a racist mind or a mind that was shaped by the racism around it. It is not even sure if he made these remarks because they were his opinion, or if he made them for humor’s sake, as mentioned above. Although the memories of his youth were obviously influenced by nostalgia, they show that the early, possibly racist Samuel Clemens is not the same man as the writer Mark Twain later turned out to be. Even the fact that he was a Confederate volunteer in the Civil War does not really tell much about his political views: After three weeks in the army he deserted with an ankle injury, which shows that his eagerness to support a certain cause seems not to have been very great.[40]

When Twain left the South for good, his attitude concerning blacks reshaped. His marriage into the abolitionist Langdon family and contact with other similar minded liberals prompted him to a change in the late 1860s.[41] This might have appeared because of a certain pressure from the outside, but “his exposure to men of wider intellectual horizons in Europe, the Middle East, and the Eastern states made it inevitable that he would revise some of his more outspoken racist views”,[42] giving Twain the opportunity to develop deeper and more sound convictions about race. This change can be seen in Twain’s writing, as Arthur G. Pettit points out in his study on “Mark Twain and the negro, 1867-1869”:

The year 1867, for example, marked the end of Twain’s frequent use of ‘nigger’ in print without quotation marks – except of course in Huckleberry Finn, where the author is not the narrator. […] Twain evolved quickly from ‘nigger’ through ‘contraband,’ ‘Freedman,’ ‘colored,’ and ‘darky’ to a final settlement on ‘negro’.[43]

Although he became a strong opponent to infringements on the rights of blacks and violence against them, some doubts concerning his opinion about their intellectual and social equality with whites remain:[44] “[W]ith the exception of his friendship with Frederick Douglass […] there is no evidence that Twain maintained relationships with educated African-Americans […].” Furthermore he “never eradicated all remnants of his racist past: […] a range of racist stereotypes continue to surface his work, and his stance toward individual blacks was often condescending and paternalistic”.[45] There is ground for such accusations, although there is much more evidence that Twain had become a convinced anti-racist. In a 1868 New York Tribune article “The Treaty with China”, he even reflected upon his change himself: The idea of citizenship for blacks in the United States had been “startling and disagreeable” to him, but having become accustomed to it, he was then open “for all comers”.[46] Twain’s sympathy as well as his doubt about the mental capacity of blacks are shown in one of his notebooks from 1884: “I lose my temper over a certain class of business (begging) letters […] except when they come from colored (& therefore ignorant) people”.[47]

Twain’s later correspondence, especially with his friend W.D. Howells bears more evidence for his anti-racist stance, for which the latter called him “the most desouthernized Southerner”. In his judgement “[n]o man more perfectly sensed, and more entirely abhorred, slavery”.[48] In a letter to Howells, Twain writes about a conversation with his wife about a church asking him to lecture for them. He starts raging about the cool wording of the inquiry, but Olivia consoles him that she thinks the preacher of that church was black. When Twain’s manner immediately changes upon that information, his wive tells him that in the future he should consider every person black until he is proven white, so that he approaches others more positively.[49] This shows how he “held himself responsible for the wrong which the white race had done the black race in slavery”[50] and was willing to do reparation. He actively did this by supporting individual blacks, African-American institutions[51] and by speaking on behalf of black causes, for example by using his connections to help Frederick Douglass into a political position.[52] In a letter to the dean of a black student’s university, he explains why he wanted to pay for the latter’s education: “We have ground the manhood out of them [the blacks], & the shame is ours, not theirs, we should pay for it”.[53]

Mark Twain’s non-fictional writings are another source of evidence for the strong anti-racist attitude of his later life. Using Southern slavery as a primary example to attack silent assertion in society, he states in his essay “My First Lie and How I Got Out of It” that “[i]t would not be possible for a humane and intelligent person to invent a rational excuse for slavery”[54]. With rising age, Twain became a fervent advocate of morals against slavery and imperialism. “King Leopold’s Soliloquy”, in which he attacks the Belgian King because of the cruelties he committed in the Congo, is one example of this. He also became concerned with the issue of lynching. His hatred for this unjust and unfair practice that was mostly directed at blacks, who were often wrongfully accused, culminated in the 1901 essay “The United States of Lyncherdom”.[55]

Twain’s fiction also bears anti-racist and anti-slavery remarks, although it has to be clear that it was written and published after the abolition of slavery. His works are not literally concerned with this institution, but rather use it as a vehicle to tackle other themes that were closely linked to it.[56] A scene from The Innocents Abroad, one of his earlier works, shows Twain’s understanding of the deficient situation of the blacks in the USA clearly. Here, he reports of a highly cultivated and refined African-American who moved to Venice, where he is being treated the same way as white men. He does not have any interest in going back to America, which, in Twain’s opinion, is reasonable and justified. The insight that abolition had not really freed the blacks, as well as the influence of his European travels to shape his anti-racist notions are visible here.[57]

Among Twain’s most important fictional texts concerned with racism and slavery is also a very brief one called “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word As I Heard It”. In this story, a black slave woman tells about the troubles she had in her life, how she was separated from her children, and other cruelties. Most of the story is told from this woman’s point of view, and this way it is a powerful revelation of the true nature of slavery, written by one of its enemies.[58] Apart from Huckleberry Finn, Pudd’nhead Wilson is the most important of Twain’s major novels dealing with slavery and racism. Here, two babies are exchanged, one being completely white, and the other one being one part of black and 31 parts of white descent. They have the same color, but ridiculous laws make the second child a slave. By switching them, the absurdity of the laws becomes visible.[59] The novel offers many comments on racism. One of the protagonists, for example, is amazed by his ‘humanity’ not to sell his slaves down the river to a region of even worse conditions for slaves. The implicated irony here is that ‘humanity’ is not a word to describe someone who keeps slaves.[60]

Concluding from the paragraphs above, Mark Twain was a very complex man who not seldomly contradicted himself. While it seems that he started out as a racist and silent supporter of slavery, not by well-considered choice but by being a man of his time and place, his mind started to change due to personal influence and intellectual development when he left the South. His private and literary writings show his stance against slavery and racism, yet he does not leave the reader completely without any doubt about his opinion of blacks. Nevertheless, he points out himself that he has a strong liking of the black race, and the moments in which Twain can be doubted are by far outnumbered by those that are unquestionable.

3. Analysis of Benito Cereno

Benito Cereno is a very complex and carefully composed work of art; this makes it not so difficult to understand that there are quite a few misinterpretations possible. A very common one, especially among scholars in the 1950s[61] and students who are facing the work without any previous knowledge or clues,[62] is to take the novel for a racist book, or at least unquestionably accept the racial attitudes it presents. This way of interpreting the book will be shown here first. After a discussion of the narrative perspective and other literary techniques, an analysis from the exact opposite perspective will follow.


[1] First published in Putnam’s Monthly (October, November and December) and later, in a revised version, included in Melville’s The Piazza Tales, the genre of the text is not commonly agreed upon. While some critics tend to put the title in quotation marks, others italicize it, treating it as a novel. The issue of the literary genre is not the topic here; the title will be italicized in this paper at all times, except when originally done otherwise in a title of a critic’s work.

[2] Cf. Eleanor E. Simpson. "Melville and the Negro: From Typee to 'Benito Cereno'."American Literature, Vol. 41, No. 1 (March 1969), p. 19.

[3] Cf. Charles I. Glicksberg. "Melville and the Negro Problem."Phylon (1940-1956), Vol. 11, No. 3 (3rd Qtr. 1950), p. 207.

[4] Cf. Giles Gunn. A Historical Guide to Herman Melville. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 11f.

[5] Cf. Gunn 2005, p. 12.

[6] Cf. Joseph Schiffman. "The Slavery Issue in Benito Cereno." In A Benito Cereno Handbook, edited by Seymour L. Gross. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., 1965, p. 120.

[7] Cf. Sidney Kaplan. "Herman Melville and the American National Sin: The Meaning of Benito Cereno."The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 42, No. 1 (January 1957), p. 37.

[8] Cf. Carolyn L. Karcher. Shadow Over the Promised Land. Slavery, Race, and Violence in Melville's America. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1980, p. 9.

[9] Cf. Ibd., p. 10.

[10] Cf. Ibd.

[11] Cf. Simpson 1969, p. 26.

[12] Cf. Karcher 1980, pp. 19f.

[13] Cf. Gunn 2005, p. 33.

[14] Cf. Ibd.

[15] Karcher 1980, p. 19.

[16] Cf. Edward S. Grejda. The Common Continent of Men. Racial Equality in the Writings of Herman Melville. Port Washington, London: Kennikat Press, 1974, p. 143f.

[17] Herman Melville. Typee. A Peep at Polynesian Life. The Writings of Herman Melville, Volume One, edited by Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker and G. Thomas Tanselle. Evanston: Northwestern University Press and Newberry Library, 1968, p. 125.

[18] Simpson 1969, p. 22.

[19] Herman Melville. Mardi and A Voyage Thither. The Writings of Herman Melville, Volume Three, edited by Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker and G. Thomas Tanselle. Evanston: Northwestern University Press and Newberry Library, 1968, p. 533.

[20] Howard Welsh. "The Politics of Race in 'Benito Cereno'."American Literature, Vol. 46, No. 4 (January 1975), p. 561.

[21] Simpson 1969, p. 23.

[22] Cf. Karcher 1980, pp. 2f.

[23] Cf. Simpson 1969, pp. 24f.

[24] Cf. Karcher 1980, p. 27.

[25] Cf. Glicksberg 1950, p. 212.

[26] Cf. Simpson 1969, p. 28.

[27] Cf. Glicksberg 1950, p. 215.

[28] Cf. Arthur G. Pettit. "Mark Twain and the Negro, 1867-1869."The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 56, No. 2 (April 1971), p. 88.

[29] Cf. Peter Messent. The Cambridge Introduction to Mark Twain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 84.

[30] Cf. Shelley Fisher Fishkin. Was Huck Black? New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 80.

[31] Cf. Pettit 1971, pp. 89f.

[32] Mark Twain. The Mark Twain Papers. Mark Twain's Letters Volume 1: 1853-1866, edited by Edgar Marquess Branch, Michael B. Frank and Kenneth M. Sanderson. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988, p. 5.

[33] Cf. Philip S. Foner. Mark Twain: Social Critic. New York: International Publishers, 1958, p. 253.

[34] Cf. Gregg Camfield. The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 17.

[35] Cf. R. Kent Rasmussen. Critical Companion to Mark Twain: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. Volume II. New York: Facts On File, 2007, p. 883.

[36] Mark Twain. The Autobiography of Mark Twain. Including Chapters Now Published for the First Time, edited by Charles Neider. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959, p. 30.

[37] Cf. Camfield 2003, p. 17.

[38] Twain, Twain. The Autobiography of Mark Twain. 1959, p. 6.

[39] Ibd.

[40] Cf. Foner 1958, p. 254f.

[41] Cf. Shelley Fisher Fishkin. "Racial Attitudes." In The Mark Twain Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. Le Master and James D. Wilson. New York, London: Garland Publishing, 1993, p. 609.

[42] Pettit 1971, p. 96.

[43] Ibd., p. 91.

[44] Cf. Ibd.

[45] Fishkin, “Racial Attitudes.” 1993, p. 613.

[46] Quoted in Pettit 1971, p. 92.

[47] Mark Twain. The Mark Twain Papers. Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals. Volume III (1883-1891), edited by Robert Pack Browning, Michael B. Frank and Lin Salamo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, p. 57.

[48] W. D. Howells. "My Mark Twain." In W.D. Howells. Literary Friends and Acquaintance. A Personal Retrospect of American Authorship, edited by David F. Hiatt and Edwin H. Cady. Bloomington, London: Indiana University Press, 1968, p. 277.

[49] Cf. Camfield 2003, p. 20.

[50] Howells 1968, p. 277.

[51] Cf. Camfield 2003, p. 19.

[52] Cf. Carmen Subryan. "Mark Twain and the Black Challenge." In Satire or Evasion? Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn, edited by James S. Leonard, Thomas A. Tenney and Thadious M. Davis. Durham, London: Duke University Press, p. 99.

[53] Quoted in Camfield 2003, p. 19.

[54] Mark Twain. "My First Lie and How I Got Out of It." In Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays 1891-1910. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1992, p. 440.

[55] Cf. Elaine Mensch and Harry Mensh. Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn. Re-imagining the American Dream. Tuscaloosa, London: The University of Alabama Press, 2000, p. 138.

[56] Cf. Lawrence I. Berkove. "Slavery." In The Mark Twain Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. Le Master and James D. Wilson. New York, London: Garland Publishing, 1993, p. 687.

[57] Cf. Foner 1958, pp. 281f.

[58] Cf. Ibd., p. 265.

[59] Cf. Ibd., p. 275.

[60] Cf. Ibd., p. 274.

[61] E.g. Kaplan 1957.

[62] Cf. Robert S. Levine. "Teaching in the Multiracial Classroom: Reconsidering Melville's 'Benito Cereno'."MELUS, Vol. 19, No. 1, Varieties of Ethnic Criticism (Spring 1994), pp. 114f.

Excerpt out of 53 pages


Racial attitudes in Melville’s 'Benito Cereno' and Twain’s 'Huckleberry Finn'
University of Heidelberg  (Anglistisches Seminar)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
720 KB
Racial, Melville’s, Benito, Cereno, Twain’s, Huckleberry, Finn
Quote paper
Ole Wagner (Author), 2008, Racial attitudes in Melville’s 'Benito Cereno' and Twain’s 'Huckleberry Finn', Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/130687


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Racial attitudes in Melville’s 'Benito Cereno' and Twain’s 'Huckleberry Finn'

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free