Thursday, March 2, 2017

With Liberty and Justice for Tom

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a set of best friends, Huck and Tom, have very contrasting personalities and sets of beliefs that could be represented as two different sides of the United States of America. Huck believes things that he see's with his own eyes and what he thinks is right. Huck doesn't let past stories or experiences alter his opinion on something he now sees as something else. While Tom only gets his information from stories and what he has been told. Most likely ignoring obvious signs that contradict old beliefs or choosing not to believe new things.

An issue in the story where both of these personalities were shown was Jim, a runaway slave that Huck was helping escape to freedom. More towards the beginning of the book Huck saw Jim the same way Tom did, as a slave who was lesser than a white person. Yet by the end of the book Huck sees Jim as a friend with feelings and ideas about the world, and Huck accepts this new idea. While Tom almost uses Jim as a fun toy to play around with because he sees and has been taught that Jim (and slaves as a whole) are an irrelevant part of his own life, and therefore their feelings and futures are also irrelevant. This idea of Huck vs. Tom can also be applied to America, and whether we are "The United States of Huck" or "The United States of Tom".

Unfortunately, America is obviously "The United States of Tom" especially when relating to many politicians and everyday people. In politics like Tom, we see people becoming selfish with money and power or becoming unconcerned with the well being of others. This relates to Toms issue with not giving a damn about the well being of anyone besides himself. An example in today's society is Donald Trump and his immigration laws and travel bans. This relates to The United States of Tom because Trump just waves his hand and millions of peoples lives are intensely affected without a second thought from him. This is the side of Tom that didn't care about Jim's outcome, whether good or bad.

America is also more of The United States of Tom because of how regular people react to new information spread through media. Within the past five or so years social media has become a very prominent part of almost everyone's life. Whether you're thirteen to eighty, a hard working citizen, famous singer or even the president, you will most likely have one of many assortments of social media platforms. What comes with these apps is a lot of information, true or not. Today most people find themselves reading some random article linked though someones twitter account about how drinking pee will make you live forever, and we find ourselves latching onto that random idea and never letting it go. This is like Tom getting ideas from books and stories and not believing what anything or anyone else says. People are influenced more and more everyday by social and regular media which will only deepen how Tom-like we are. The United States of Tom is not an ideal United States to live in.

Hopefully the people with more Huck than Tom in them will find a way to spread their beliefs and change America before it is too late.

1 comment:

  1. In my examination of the differences of Huck's America and Tom's America, I did not realize how much Tom's America can be reflected in our social media today. You did a good job at connecting Tom's America to social media and also connecting it back to the book!!!