Thursday, March 2, 2017

In Tom we Trust!

The book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, describes the two different types of America in a unique way through Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  Huck comes from a poor and "white trash" family.  He was never interested in school and he did not adhere to the social norms in the society at the time.  On the other hand, Tom came from a well off family and was interested in books.  He loved trying to recreate the stories in books in the real life, although they never really worked. The United States have been struggling to choose between two different types of America that have been seen throughout history and has been going on for centuries.   The first type of United States is a place where people believe in the reality of things and what they see.  They do not let previous times come into play, they only focus on what feels right, rather than what everyone else thinks is right.  The second type of United States is a place where people go off what they see and what they hear, rather than doing what they think is right.  They follow what they have read or what is on the news, they do not look at actual accounts and make their own decision on different issues.  These two types of the United States are commonly know as the "United States of Huck" and the "United States of Tom".

In America today, the "United States of Tom" is seen more in society than the "United States of Huck".  Tom does not believe in reality and what he sees and feels, he believes in whatever he has read from books or the themes that they support.  The article, The United States of Huck by George Sanders says, "Huck believes in the reality of people and things he sees, whereas, to Tom, these things are only imperfect imitations of the people and things about which he has read".  In America today, we are influenced everyday by the news, media, other people, and the past.  We let other people's views cloud our judgement which does not let us look at the situation ourselves and make a decision on what we believe in, we just follow what everyone else is following.   Tom lets books give him ideas on issues and he only follows them.  Whereas Huck judges things based on what he sees, feels in his heart, and what he believes is right.

Another example, in the book we see Huck relate to Jim as another human being who is just like him no matter his skin color while Tom just uses him as a pawn to do what people have done in the books that he has read.  In the United States today, we use other people and do not actually care about them, we just use them to get something just like Tom used Jim to recreate what happened in his books.  The "United States of Huck" actually cares about people and use their morals and feelings to guide them, rather than being guided by other people seen in the "United States of Tom". Next, Tom represents the upper class people while Huck represents the minorities and lower class Americans. This is seen in many social institutions across America.  We see the "United States of Tom" through discrimination and racism that is still seen throughout America today.  If the United States were more like Huck we would be closer to equality and people would do what they feel is right.

Currently, we live in a United States that is more like Tom but we need to be more like Jim.  We need to make decisions based on what we see and how we feel, rather than what we have been told by society and the past.  We need to challenge social norms and make our own decisions rather than conform to them and follow what everyone else is following.  Our society needs to be one where people are making their own decisions and are not influenced by other things.  A place where people use their morals and beliefs to do what they think is right.  Our country has been dealing with the struggle of deciding whether we are the "United States of Huck" or are we the "United States of Tom" for almost 250 years and we are still deciding what country we are today.  While we might have some that are following the values of Huck, in the United States today, we are the "United States of Tom".

1 comment:

  1. Good job connecting today's society back to the book and recognizing which character represents which group of people today. I never thought of it like that