Is Huck Finn an Effective Piece of SatireGet Your
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Sam Embree Block 3 “Is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn an effective piece of satire? ” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain follows the story of a young white boy, Huckleberry Finn, as he travels down the Mississippi River. Twain uses the experiences of Huck as he travels down the river to comment on society. His opinions of many topics are given by satirizing other characters or events. An element this satire that twain uses is the depiction of the characters in a humorous manner.
Throughout the novel the use of this satire is clear and express Twain’s opinions on American culture in the antebellum period. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an effective piece of satire on American culture during the 1800s. Twain satirizes feuding, Pseudo-intellectualism and Greed in his story. During one of the adventures of Huck, he learns what a feud is, Twain uses this experience to ridicule the idea of a feud. He chooses two families’, the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, to depict this feud. The Grangerfords seem to be very high class by having an elegant house and servants for all the family members.
Huck observes, “It didn’t have an iron latch on the front door, nor a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob to turn, the same as houses in town…There was a big fireplace that was bricked on the bottom, and the bricks was kept clean and red … same as they do in town. ” It is clear that the Grangerfords have a very nice house that is comparable to those in town. However, as the story progresses it is revealed they have an ongoing feud, which involves senseless deaths and manslaughter in their concept of honor.
The feud the Grangefords have with the Sheperdsons has gone on so long that they don’t even know why it started. Their story suggests such a feud is crazy and against common sense. Buck Grangerford defines a feud as when “A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in — and by and by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time. ” The feud between the families has no oint besides their honor, and will not end until one family wipes out the other to regain their honor. In another instance Twain satirize feuding at the church. As Mr. Grangerford preaches a sermon, Huck observes, “It was pretty ornery preaching—all about brotherly love”. The fact that the sermon he makes is about brotherly love is very ironic because even though he preaches about brotherly love he’s still apart of a feud that has no point to it. Huck, as the naive narrator makes an observation that highlights the satire of feuding
Another aspect of America that is mocked in the novel is pseudo-intellectualism. A pseudo-intellectual is a person of average intelligence who knows some parts of a higher education and uses this knowledge to impress others. Twain uses the Duke and the Dauphin to exaggerate how some people try to show off their intelligence to others, but in reality they themselves aren’t that smart. Twain also expects that the readers of his novel are well read enough themselves, or they would not understand some of this satire. For example, at one point the Dauphin attempts to recite the soliloquy of Hamlet.
However, The Dauphin himself does not know the soliloquy very well and includes phrases from other Shakespearean plays. His soliloquy begins “To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin That makes calamity of so long life… There’s the respect must give us pause: Wake Duncan with thy knocking! ” This entire soliloquy mocks those who try to show off their intelligence. Twain also satirizes the respect pseudo-intellectuals get from those of lower education by the reactions of awe by Huck and Jim. In another instance the Dauphin speaks to a crowd about a funeral service.
However, while trying to sound intelligent instead of saying obsequies he says, “…he respected everybody, he liked everybody, and so it’s fitten that his funeral orgies sh’d be public. ” Twain includes this piece of humor to satirize pseudo-intellectuals. As Huck observes the actions of the Duke and the Dauphin he calls attention to the satire of pseudo-intellectuals. Finally, Mark Twain satirizes the greed of people in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The actions of Pap suggest greed is stronger than morals and ethics in some men. This is clear when Pap, a man who deserted his son, omes back to Huck and says, “I’ve been in town two days, and I hain’t heard nothing but about you bein’ rich. I heard about it away down the river, too. That’s why I come. You git me that money-tomorrow-I want it,” It is clear that after he got the money Pap would just spend it on alcohol as he usually did. Pap shows that greed drives people to do whatever they can to get money. Twain doesn’t just apply the trait of greed to Pap, but also to the Duke and the Dauphin. These conmen go to great lengths to deceive others to obtain money. In one of their schemes they assume the identities of a recently deceased man.
Driven by their greed they plan to sell all the man’s property and run away. The Dauphin says, “What! And not sell out the rest o’ the property? March off like a passel of fools and leave eight or nine thous’n’ dollars’ worth o’ property layin’ around jest sufferin’ to be scooped in? ” This scene reveals that the conmen have no respect for others and only have themselves in mind. Through the eyes of Huck, Twain tries to show that greed is an immoral aspect present in America during the 19th century and that those who are greedy take advantage of the innocent.
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain effectively ridicules aspects of American society of the late 19th century and human nature. In his novel Twain satirizes feuding, pseudo-intellectuals, and greed. Twain shows he has much distaste in each of these aspects by ridiculing them through the eyes of the naive narrator that is Huckleberry Finn. He shows that feuds are against common sense, pseudo-intellectuals do not deserve the respect they receive, and greed causes people to hurt the innocent.
Is Huck Finn an Effective Piece of Satire
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The use of Satire in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay
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The use of Satire in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
In his novel the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1884,
Mark Twain uses satire frequently as a medium to display his feelings on a range of issues related to society at that time. Throughout the book he ridicules many aspects of society, including the prevalent views on slaves and religion, and their social structure. Even though the novel was set fifty years before it was published, the themes still held true for contemporary society. This led to the novel being criticised widely as a result of it condemning the very society it was presented to. Today however readers can see the message behind Mark
Twain’s satire much more clearly, as it does not mock us…show more content…
Huck realizes however, that if he did follow society’s expectations and give Jim up to the slavers he would “…feel bad – [he’d] feel just the same way [he does] now” (149).
This leads him to disregard the expectations placed on him by society and just “…bother no more about it” (149).
In the 1800s, religion was a large part of society. However, society was on many occasions extremely hypocritical in their views on religion. The slave owners would “fetch the niggers in and have prayers” (51), forcing them to become Christians whilst ignoring their own Christian maxim, ‘God created all men equal’ by treating their slaves as lesser beings.
Twain also shows us the futility of society’s fanatic attempt to convert everyone to Christianity. This is brought to our attention comically with Jim’s view of King Solomon. Jim has been taught “…bout dat chile dat he `uz gwyne to chop in two” (133). Yet the significance of King Solomon’s test in order to determine who was the mother of the child was lost on his uneducated mind. Similarly when Miss Watson tells Huck about hell he said “I wished I was there” (50), Huck was never taught to grasp the concept of heaven or hell, it was only described to him, leading him to believe that hell would be a far more exciting place to live than Heaven. Society’s view of prayer is harshly criticised as well. Huck was taught that if he prayed every day “…whatever [he] asked for [he] would get” (60).