The Changing World Around Us
GENG 248


17 March 2003


Literature was not highly favored before the Civil War in the South. There weren’t too many people who could appreciate the essence and art of literature. However, after the Civil War literature was in full bloom. Just as literature’s development enhanced over time, so did the world. Many challenges were set in front of many Southerners in regards to overcoming the Civil War and incorporating themselves into the new world. Many authors embellished on the concept of being freed from the past. Authors such as Samuel Clemons, Booker T. Washington, and Walt Whitman all suggested ways in which the South could overcome and move forward. Holding on to the past would only prove to be detrimental to the progression into the new world.


Samuel Clemons, more commonly known as Mark Twain, was a U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer. Samuel Clemons wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of America’s masterpieces. The primary theme of the novel is the conflict between civilization and uncivilization. Huck, who is the main character struggles with trying to remain as uncivilized as can be because he doesn’t like rules. But trying to run away from civilization is impossible because the world around is changing and in order to fall in together with the rest of the world.


Another them from the novel dealt with slavery. Mark Twain was firmly against slavery, a trade which had been established in the Southern states long before. Although there were freed slaves among society, slavery was still very much alive. Huck Finn, has a lot of mishaps in his life. This story can be applied as a learning tool for the South;s forward movement in the sense that this is a time where individuals begin to think for themselves about the ways of the land versus society telling them to feel and think a certain way. This key element is by far the most important element in forward movement., individualism.


Huck Finn begins to struggle with the concept of slavery. He befriends Jim, a slave. He has to think for himself and determine for himself and whether he terminates the friendship due to the fact that Jim is a slave or if he will ignore that fact and continue the friendship.


This particular conflict is one of the many holds that Southerners tend to come in conflict with. The very idea of this struggle in the book is to not burn your bridges because you never know when you might need them. In other words, don’t trun your back just because someone holds a status that is less than yours. Because you just might need them someday.


Booker T. Washington had an alsmost different approach when he wrote “Up from Slavery.” Washington felt that progression into the new world was attainable by educating African-Americans. Education would always be the key element to keep in time with modern U.S.A. Not only are we to educate African-Americans but society as a whole. Not only do we educate society to prepare them for the future, but we also educate them about the past so as to not make the same mistakes again.


Booker T. Washington, however, also favored the ideals expressed in Twain’s work, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. That idea being not to burn your bridges because you may need them. Slaves were made to work the fields and they were not necessarily needed for survival. However, there came a time when war broke out and was prolonged. Whites has trouble securing food for themselves. While slaves thrived off cornbread and pork which could have been grown on the plantation. Whites were accustomed to coffee, tea, sugar, and other things that could not be raised on the plantation (Norton, 749). The whites needed to rely even more so on the slaves than usual. This proved to be yet another element in forward movement. The superior now had to depend heavily on the inferior. The new modern world suggested that even those in high power needed help from others, those others sometimes being from a lower class.


These two authors exhibited ideas for progression in terms of uplifting those lower class people so that they could become a part of the world.


Walt Whitman