Fugitive Slave Act and Huck FinnHow was the topic "The Second Fugitive Slave Act" used in the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain? 

Asked on by moocow554

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I do not think that the Fugitive Slave Act is explicitly used in this book.  Instead, it, and the assumptions behind that law, form something of the background of the book.  They are sort of like gravity--they are a force that is always there and which affects the way in which the characters must act.

The main way that the law's impact can be seen is on the behavior of Huck and Jim while on the raft.  They go to great pains to conceal Jim because they know that people could get money for returning Jim to slavery.  Thus, even though the act is not actually mentioned, the fear that Jim will be caught and reenslaved is always present in the book.


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