Thursday, December 10, 2015

The United States of Huck and Tom

George Saunders creates two different Americas through his analysis of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The first America is that of Tom where society is one where a person focuses on themselves how to advance themselves rather than taking the time to help others. In the "United States of Tom" privilege is the driving factor of life and if you are not privileged than it is your own fault because you did not work hard enough. In contrast the "United States of Huck" is one where fair play and hope drive everyday life. There is opportunity for everyone and people care about each other.

America today can be described as both  the "United States of Huck" and the "United States of Tom".
In American culture the "season of giving" is a time in which Huck's America shines through. People try to help others instead of only themselves. There is hope that everyone can experience joy during the holidays and it does not matter who you are or where you are from. The United States itself proposes the image of Huck's America. There is the belief that America is where there are equal opportunities and there is fair play in everyday life. This is to some extent true but Tom's America also shines through.

Tom's America paints the idea that if you are not privileged than it is because you did not work hard enough and inequality is seen through everyday life. Today in America  the ideals of Tom's are seen through the debates over immigration and police violence and brutality. Immigrants are coming in to America believing that they are going to the "United States of Huck" but instead are met with the injustice of Tom's. Immigrants face poverty and the ridicule that if they worked harder than they would not be in poverty. The controversial situation of police brutality and violence in America today is a clear representation of the United States of Tom. Inequality is seen as countless male black teenagers are shot by police officers on a suspicion that was amplified because of their race. It is seen through this that the idea of self-preservation can plague even those who are meant to protect all and not just who they think should have the privilege of their protection. America today is a mixture of the "United State of Huck" and the "United States of Tom" but their is a continuing fight over which one is dominant.

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting because you of how you describe how America is as a whole. After I read the article, I got the sense that Saunders was saying that Americans fall into either category and we are divided because of hat. After reading your response to the article, I agree with you that America as a whole represents both The United States of Tom and Huck.