Research paper topics, free example research papers
You are welcome to search thousands of free research papers and essays. Search for your research paper topic now!
Research paper topic: America Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave The Utopian Society Which Every European Citizen Desired To Be A Part Of In Th - 3033 words
NOTE: The research paper or essay you see on this page is a free essay, available to anyone. You can use any paper as a sample on how to write research papers or as a source of information. We strongly discourage you to directly copy/paste any essay and turn it in for credit. If your school uses any plagiarism detecting software, you might be caught and accused of plagiarism. If you need a custom term paper, research paper or essay, written from scratch exclusively for you, please, use our paid research papers writing service!
America.. land of the free and home of the brave; the utopian society which every European citizen desired to be a part of in the 18th and 19th centuries. The revolutionary ideas of The Age of Enlightenment such as democracy and universal male suffrage were finally becoming a reality to the philosophers and scholars that so elegantly dreamt of them. America was a playground for the ideas of these enlightened men. To Europeans, and the world for that matter, America had become a kind of mirage, an idealistic version of society, a place of open opportunities.
Where else on earth could a man like J. D. Rockefeller rise from the streets to one of the richest men of his time? America stood for ideals like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. People in America had an almost unconditional freedom: freedom to worship, write, speak, and live in any manner that so pleased them. But was this freedom for everyone? Was America, the utopia for the millions of common men from around world, as great as the philosophers and scholars fantasized? America, as a society, as a country, and as a leader was not as picture perfect as Europeans believed.
The United States, under all the gold plating, carried a burden of unsolved national problems, especially racial. The deep scar of slavery had left a dent in the seemingly impenetrable armor of the country. From the times of early colonization to the late 19th century, Africans had been brought over by the thousands in overcrowded and unsanitary slave ships and sold like cattle to the highest bidder, an inhumane and despicable act that America, land of the free and home of the brave, allowed to happen. Why? Slavery is what the plantation society of the South thrived on. The Souths entire economic system was built upon the shoulders of the African slave.
Too precious and dear to let go, the South held on to this institution until the Thirteenth Amendment was signed in by Lincoln in 1865. In this hypocritical society is where The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn finds itself. Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an epic story of the journey of a redneck boy and a runaway slave, escaping the grips of society in the hope of a chance at the freedom they long for so dearly. The novels author, Mark Twain, also grew up in this society. Samuel Clemens, Twains birth name, led a life that had a great influence on the works that he produced later in his life. Born in Florida, Missouri, Clemens childhood was filled with adventures much like those found in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Following his childhood experiences, Clemens worked on steamboats on the Mississippi River up until the river was closed during the Civil War. The war opened his eyes to the issue of slavery, which shows up in many of his works, including Huckleberry Finn. Huckleberry Finn takes place when slavery was very much a part of Southern culture and society, nearly thirty years prior to the Civil War. Since the institution of slavery was such a stronghold of Southern society during Huckleberry Finn, Hucks helping bring Jim to freedom makes him an outlaw. In James Wrights "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" published in Great Writers of the English Language: American Classics in 1991, Wright clarifies for the reader that "Huck in helping Jim, was not only going against the moral codes of the South, but was going against strict written law" (14). Since helping a runaway slave was written law, Hucks helping Jim signifies Huck making a conscience decision to rebel openly against society.
In Walter Blairs "So Noble.. and So Beautiful a Book" published in Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1968, Blair suggests, "In those slave-holding days, the whole community was agreed as to one thing the awful sacredness of slave property" (70). The unity of the Southern society in regard to slavery is what made it so difficult for the United States to rid itself of it. Slavery was in fact, sacred, and to go against this evil religion was taboo. "To help steal a horse or a cow was a low crime, but to help a hunted slave..
or to hesitate to promptly betray him to a slave catcher when opportunity offered was a much baser crime, and carried with it a stain, a moral smirch which nothing could wipe away" (Blair 70). Blair makes an interesting point here. He states that to go against slavery was a "moral smirch." Slavery was so much a part of these peoples lives that they made it part of their morality, their religious sense. It was morally correct to enslave another human being, but to help another was a crime. This illustrates the irony and hypocrisy of the South.
The characters and actions in Huckleberry Finn embody the culture of a growing nation and the people that comprised it. All aspects of Huckleberry Finn as a novel promote realism and accurately portray life in 19th century America. In Pearl James "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" published in Novels for Students in 1997, James states, "Twain personifies the American folk culture through his use of colloquialism, using speech rather than writing in his dialogue" (14). Here James emphasizes the importance of the local dialect Twain uses in his character dialogue. This is significant in persuading the reader of the realism of the book.
Published in Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1968 Bernard DeVoto states in his "Viewpoints" that "the novel derives from the folk and embodies their mode of thought more purely and more completely than any other written" (114). DeVoto has furthered the fact that Huckleberry Finn, in essence, is like a picture from the past, a doorway to the history of our culture. Although when first written Huckleberry Finn was considered trash and strictly a childrens book, the opinion of the novel has changed over the course of the years. The majority of the literary critics that have expressed their opinion on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn consider it a literary masterpiece and the first true American classic. In F.R.
Leavis "Viewpoints" published in Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1968, Leavis heralds the novel by emphasizing that "Huckleberry Finn, by general agreement Mark Twains greatest work, is supremely the American classic, and it is one of the great books of the world" (109). While Leavis has recognized Huckleberry Finn as the "American classic," other critics go further. In Louis J. Budds "Introduction" to New Essays on Huckleberry Finn published in 1985, Budd decrees, "More so today, people who pay any mind to books get used to hearing Huckleberry Finn called the great American novel, a masterpiece, a classic, and even a world classic" (1). Twain has created a masterpiece that can be enjoyed by not only scholars but by anyone.
Appearing in Modern Critical Interpretations in 1986, James Cox stresses in "A Hard Book to Take" that Huckleberry Finn, although "read by people of all ages, loved throughout the nation, it finally made its way into the academy so that professors of literature at least a good number of them have come to take both confidence and pleasure in deeming it a masterpiece of American literature" (87). The majority of the critics agree on Twains success with Huckleberry Finn. Twain employs many devices of language, especially characterization, to enhance the read of the book. In Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain utilizes a plethora of characters and their interactions with Huck to illustrate Hucks views of society. From the onset of the novel, Huck Finn is presented with negative experiences relating to society, forcing him to escape from this suffocating and life-threatening environment.
Miss Watson, as one of the first characters that the reader witnesses Huck interacting with, stands for the hypocritical society that Huck is trying to escape from, which becomes blatantly evident to Huck when she plans to take the eight hundred dollars for Jim. Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas attempt to "sivilize" Huck, which in essence "cramps Hucks style." James Wrights "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" associates being "sivilized" with being "overrun with violence and greed" (15). The source of the "sivilizing" is society, which is represented here by Miss Watson. In Leo Marxs "Mr. Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn" appearing in The American Scholar in 1953, Marx believes that "it is she who keeps pecking at Huck, who tries to teach him to spell and to pray and to keep his feet off the furniture" (29).
Miss Watsons pecking is an annoyance to Huck and causes him to want to escape. "The Widow Douglas, she took me for her son and she allowed she would sivilize me..and so when I couldnt stand it no longer, I lit out" (HF 1). The characteristics of being "sivilized" are also physically uncomfortable to Huck. He does not enjoy starchy clothes and sitting properly. Huck is a backwoods boy, wishing to be free.
"She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldnt do nothing but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up" (HF 1). This cramping of style is what again forces Huck to want to escape at the conclusion of the novel. Huck has a general sympathy for mankind. He sees people for what they are, regardless of the outside masks they may use to hide their true selves. On the outside, Miss Watson appears to be a lovely old lady. Comparatively, Jim appears to be a dirty, worthless slave, less than human.
But Huck knows this is not true. He sees both Miss Watson and Jim in a different light. Marx later explains that by giving in to the offer of the slave trader of eight hundred dollars to sell Jim down the river without his family, Huck now comes to the conclusion that "Miss Watson, in short, is the enemy" (29). This realization is the first step in the moral development that Huck experiences throughout the course of the novel. While Miss Watson represents some of the hypocritical aspects of society, Pap is the character that Twain has created to be the hated villain.
The ultimate evils of society found in the novel are no more apparent than in the character of Pap, who is Hucks father. Paps violent behavior and drunken rages eventually result in a desperate attempt by Huck to save his life and escape from the cruel and dishonest society he wishes to not be a part of. Cox makes the point in his analysis of Pap that "first of all, his treatment of Huck convicts him of child abuse.." (90). Paps treatment of Huck makes the reader sympathize with Huck and allows the reader to see some of the violent aspects of society. "But by-and-by Pap got too handy with his hickry and I couldnt stand it" (HF 27).
Paps alcoholism and abuse eventually lead to threats on Hucks life, which becomes the deciding factor in Hucks decision to flee. "He chased me round and round the place, with a clasp knife, calling me the Angel of Death and saying he would kill me.." (HF 32). The violent behavior of Pap further instigates Hucks view that society is evil, violent, and without compassion. Paps evil characteristics are not limited to that of a drunken child abuser. Pap exemplifies the characteristics of a racist, uneducated white man to perfection.
His criticism of an educated, well-to-do black man is an ironic contrast to himself, an uneducated drunken hick. In one of his drunken speeches, Pap rages on that ".. they said he [the black man] was a pfessor in college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything..they said he could vote.." (HF 30). Pap has a resentful attitude towards an individual who has accomplished something almost unheard of in these times. He even carries this attitude as far as saying that he is not going to participate in voting merely because this educated capable man is black. "It was lection day, and I was just about to go and vote, myself, if I warnt too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where theyd let that nigger vote, I drawed out" (HF 30).
The paragraphs where Pap is condemning the government are crucial for the understanding of what Pap symbolizes and his importance in the novel. In Janet Holmgren McKays "An Art So High" published in New Essays on Huckleberry Finn in 1985, McKay expresses to the reader that "Paps rather lengthy diatribe against the govment seems to belong in the novel.. it develops Paps character as town drunk, petty philosopher, and racist.." (71). Even though Pap is a terrible father and no role model for Huck, he still believes that the law has no right to take Huck from him. "Heres the law a-standing ready to take a mans son away from him a mans own son, which he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising" (HF 29). Pap also feels that the government is wrong for not allowing him access to the six thousand dollars that Huck has received, and even goes as far as to blame the government for his current condition.
"The law takes a man worth six thousand dollars and uppards, and jams him into an old trap of a cabin like this, and lets him go round in clothes that aint fitten for a hog.. they call that govment" (HF 28)! Paps drunkenness, ignorance, abuse, and resentment are all aspects of his character that make him not only an enemy in the eyes of the reader, but more importantly, in the eyes of Huck. Once Huck has fled from the constraints of society and has begun his journey down the great Mississippi River, he encounters various characters that give further proof to his view that society is evil and that the only true friend Huck has is the runaway slave Jim. Twain uses the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons to illustrate the absurd and hypocritical idiosyncrasies of Southern aristocracy of the time. In Steven Maillouxs "Reading Huckleberry Finn" published in New Essays on Huckleberry Finn in 1985, Mailloux explains that "Buck sees no problem with his appeal to this dubious rhetorical authority a tradition of self perpetuating murder originating in an unknown argument" (122).
Not seeing a problem with the feud, Buck represents the ingrained beliefs of the Southern society. Killing another family for no known reason strikes Buck as perfectly normal. When Buck is presented with the question of what a feud is by Huck, he explains with a narrative saying, "A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other mans brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in and by-and-by everybodys killed off, and there aint no more feud" (HF 119). Here again Hucks general sympathy for all people shows up. Huck can not understand why people would kill each other and when asked by Huck if he knew why the feud started, Buck responds "Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old folks, but they dont know, now, what the row was about in the first place" (HF 120). This conversation is another stepping stone for Hucks realization that society is evil.
The feud of the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons shows the brutal and hypocritical manner in which society conducts itself. In Richard P. Adams "The Unity and Coherence of Huckleberry Finn" published in Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1968, Adams reminds the reader that the hypocritical aristocracy contributes to Hucks continual awareness of the true values of a civilization that he is asked to belong to (44). The incident that strikes Huck as most ironic is his trip to church with Buck. The presence of guns sitting next to the men in church is a perfect example of how sanctimonious society really is. Next Sunday we all went to church.. the men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall.
The Shepherdson done the same. It was pretty ornery preaching all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith, and good works, and free grace, and preforeordestination, and I dont know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet. (HF 121) Hucks views on the feud take on a more opinionated appearance later in his adventures with Buck. Huck concludes discussing the feud on this note: "It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree. I aint agoing to tell all that happened it would make me sick again if I was to do that" (HF 127).
Hucks experience with Buck and his family show him a part of society he had formerly not been aware of, the aristocratic element. At first seeming extremely lavish and pleasurable, Huck realizes that the supposedly refined show the same faces of evil as Pap and Miss Watson. The character that represents the conformities to the views of society better than no other in the novel is Tom Sawyer. Since Huck represents a revolt against society, the two form a striking contrast that make Hucks rebellion more apparent. Hoffman later notes Toms role saying, "By contrast, Tom Sawyer functions as the perfect representative of his society..
although mischievous, he accepts without conflict the instinctive and intellectual values of his society" (32). Huck Finn is a character that is practical and realistic, where Tom Sawyer is a romantic. He lives in the world of pretend and make believe. When devising his magnificent contrivance of Jims escape, Toms plans are not his own, rather out of fantasy books he had read. "Because it aint in the books so..dont you reckon that the people that made the books knows whats the correct thing to do" (HF 10)? The incident where the ...
Research paper topics, free term papers, essays, sample research papers on America Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave The Utopian Society Which Every European Citizen Desired To Be A Part Of In Th