Huck Finn Satire Essays

Mark Twain uses satire to attack institutions and ideas in his novel.He makes fun of religion, mob-mentality, and slavery.Pap accuses the government several times in the novel by saying, “Call this a govment” and “this is a wonderful govment, wonderful.” The undeniable fact is that he never can go against the norms dictated by society and thus passively suffers.

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The manner in which the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons follow the church practices serves as situational irony.

It is ironical that these two families, observing the underlying message of sharing brotherly love, enjoy the sermon, but at the same time, keep their guns “between their knees.”Huck’s inability to completely understand things make him comment in such a way that it results in a lot of verbal as well as Socratic irony.

Thus, when he reveals his disinterestedness in living with the Widow Douglas by saying,“The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways,”the way he uses the word, “decent” points out that though Huck never considers himself honorable, in reality, he shows more concern, more understanding than all the proclaimed civilized characters and this fact is acknowledged both by the author and the reader.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn reigns as one of the most controversial books in American literature; it was banned after its publication in 1885 for containing “little humor and that of a very coarse type.” Nonetheless, the novel’s praising by notable black authors like Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison, reflects its triumph in authentically exposing the hypocrisy of his age in accurate details.

He mocks at the lack of respect shown by the Christians of his day, by narrating how a dog constantly barks during the funeral procession of Peter Wilk, thereby upholding the essential truth that ceremonies are after all useless if a man is not given true worth.

The ample use of superstitions by both Huck and Jim also highlight the faulty interpretation of religion.Twain’s use of irony helps him to satirize what he feels wrong, but it also serves as an important factor in rendering the plot more vibrant and realistic.The mental dilemma encountered by Huck of whether to help Jim in escaping or not, is an instance of dramatic irony, for, though unknown to him, the reader knows that he is actually doing the right thing by not being repulsive to Jim.The fact that Huck’s moral sensibilities towards the injustice suffered by Jim are in no way influenced by education is perhaps one of the primary ways in which Twain satirizes the education system of his time.In fact, the ideas that Huck declare of learning at school are erroneous.However, Twain disapproved slavery, racism and thus, though his novel exposes the blacks as ignorant or unfeeling, it is done solely to depict the hollowness ingrained in his society.And to fulfill this purpose, he employs both the Horatian and the Juvenalian style of satirizing.Twain never liked romantic details, and thus the wrecked steamboat boarded by Huck and Jim is named as Walter Scott, suggesting the disintegration of romance in Twain’s time.Twain next attacks the hypocrisy of his society through the untruthfulness of “a good Christian woman,” Miss Watson.Growing up in a white slaveholding Southern society, Twain was habituated with hearing the word, “nigger” being used for African Americans.And, probably it is for the same reason that the word is used such abundantly in the novel.

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