'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' Mark Twain
In the Mark Twain's historical fiction, 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn', Huck fakes his murder to escape the drunken beating of his abusive father. His sanctuary was the mighty Mississippi, which he used to escape the torture he has lived with for years. Huck's adventure takes a strange turn when he joins forces with Jim a runaway. But one thing different about Jim is he's a runaway slave. The penalty for helping a runaway slave was death. Jim was more of father figure to Huck than Huck's own father. Huck does not fully respect Jim because he still used racist terms when he refers to Jim. The story is fictional but has many historical references to slavery in the pre Civil War South.
The next historical reference in Huck Finn is the patrols of men looking for runaway slaves. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required slaves to be returned under law to the slave owners. Slaves, not even under law, were equal to white people of that time. As Huck and Jim were traveling down the river on a dark night they saw torches. When they reached the torches, they found out it was patrollers looking for runaway slaves. The men asked Huck if he had anybody else on his boat. Huck said yes it was his sick dad. The patrollers asked to see the man up close. Huck said finally, somebody is willing to help us. Everybody keeps running away from us when we ask for help. The men asked what was the matter with his dad? Huck responded Small Pox! The men stopped dead in their tracks and told Huck to be on his way. The last historical reference in Huck Finn is the Dred Scott Decision of 1857. Dred Scott was born a slave and was granted his freedom. Dred lived in the free states for eleven years when the Fugitive Slave Act was upheld. All slaves, no matter if they were free or not were returned to their owners. Supreme Court deemed slaves personal property. Jim was betrayed and he was turned over to the bounty hunters. The bounty hunters, under compliance of law, looked for Jim's owners. There are many historical references in Huck Finn. It refers to laws and acts on both sides of the slavery question and depicts the horror of the antebellum time for slaves in the South. The book shows the lawless nature of the old South and some of the reasons why the Civil War broke out between the free states and slave states. Huck Finn explores the complicated relationships between free whites and slaves. The study of that relationship is why 'Huckleberry Finn' is still very popular today.