Satire in Huckleberry Finn

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Maya Tsujimoto Gunderson English 3 p. 5 16 January 2008 Huck’s Satirical Adventure Have you ever read a novel filled with various attacks against society-made by an adventurous young boy? That is precisely what happens in the classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. This work of literature is about a young boy named Huckleberry Finn and a runaway slave named Jim. Journeying down the Mississippi River, they encounter many unforgettable adventures all while trying to get Jim to free land. Twain portrays his main character, Huck, as a boy who questions society and its beliefs. He also criticizes society and shows awareness with his witty satire. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses satire, through his character Huck, to show the hypocrisy and ignorance in adults, and royalty as apathetic and greedy; all while managing to see how man is very inhumane to their own kind. One example society that Twain attacks is adults and their hypocrisy. Huck doesn’t understand why he is forbidden to do certain things, when the person forbidding him does the exact same things. The widow Douglas, Huck’s ‘guardian’, always tells Huck not to smoke because it’s bad for his health. However, when she warns him not to, Huck says, “That is just the way with people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it…And she took snuff, too” (2). Saying this, Huck knows that she also smokes, and he doesn’t understand why she thinks of herself as such a great woman, when she is doing the exact thing that she told him not to do. Twain is showing that people back then were truly hypocritical and they said things that completely contradicted their own actions. Mark Twain shows another form of satire with his criticism on adult ignorance. One example of adults and their ignorance is the feud between the Grangerfords and the
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