How do The Help by Katheryn Stockett and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain both effectively prove the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that existed in their times?

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droark | High School Teacher

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Huckleberry Finn is set in 1830's or 40's Missouri along and The Help is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. Both are works of fiction though both are considered to be reliable accounts of the events and emotions of the times they represent. 

In Huck Finn, Twain tells about the hardships of slaves through the eyes of an escaped slave.  However, Twain does not present a clear overarching viewpoint on the subject but rather leaves the reader to decide how to interpret the events that occur.

He does have individual characters present a variety of opinions. One such example of how he proves the deep-rooted prejudice and racism of the time is when, in chapter 6,  Pap is telling Huck how he will never vote again because a black freed slave was allowed to vote in the North. Pap goes on to say that the man wouldn't have even moved off the sidewalk to give him the preferred path if Pap hadn't pushed him, as if to say that Pap was appalled that the freed slave didn't concede to the superiority of a white man to drunk too drunk to even vote.

In The Help, Stockett illustrates the injustice occurring in the south in the 1960's. She tells about the hardships faced by black maids in white households. One of the most pointed examples of the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that existed in their times is the Home Help Sanitation Initiative. One of the white women the book depicts, Miss. Hilly Holbrook, propose an initiative to the surgeon general of Mississippi that would require all white households to have a separate restroom for the colored house servants. She explains:

“All these houses they’re building without maid’s quarters? It’s just plain dangerous. Everybody knows they carry different kinds of diseases than we do”(p.8).

Hilly believes that the colored maids are not human and, therefore, their employers should be fearful of their own health.

As you can see, both books set in very different words with different themes and plots both clearly illustrate the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that existed in their times.

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