Satire in Huckleberry Finn 1

Satire in Huckleberry FinnSatire in Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain employs humor throughout the novel to mock American society and the lives of its citizens. Twain shows how hypocritical Americans can be by using satire in Huckleberry Finn. He talks about certain issues, such as race relations. Satire refers to the use of humor or irony, exaggeration or ridicule in order to highlight the stupidity or vices a person, group or society.

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was his most beloved work and one of the few works that were censored for its controversial nature. Its primary purpose was to portray the lifestyle and culture of the frontier American society of the 19th century. Twain’s Huck Finn was written after the civil war had ended. However, there were still moral and racial tensions regarding ex-slaves.

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Satire in Huckleberry Finn: Religion 

The ideology of American society changed in an era of war and realism. Society began to criticize subjects that were not considered normal. Mark Twain, author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn used this platform to mock American Christianity and the hypocrisy of many people’s actions during that time. Twain uses many characters, including the Watson sisters, Grangerfords, and Huck Finns, to criticize aspects of people’s reactions in the name religion.

Two characters, Ms. Watson and Widow Douglas, are introduced to Huckleberry as caretakers. Twain starts to critique their religious hypocrisy during the first few chapters. Chapter 2: Finn is frustrated when Miss Watson describes hell and heaven to Finn. Finn responds in anger and frustration to Miss Watson’s description. Miss Watson replies that “(it was wicked for Huck” to his words; that she wouldn’t say it for all the world; that she was going to live to see the good place.”

Another example of their hypocrisy is when Widow Douglas encourages Huck “to help others” (Twain, p.19). Douglas wants Huck “to help other people” (Twain, p.19). She also advocates for Huck “to do everything he possibly can for other people, but she doesn’t feel guilty about owning slaves. This is clear satire. Mark Twain also uses satire in Huckleberry Finn when Huck gets scolded for smoking (p.10), but she did it herself (p.10)).

Twain uses Grangerfords to criticize many things, including southern hospitality, romance, and aggression for no reason. In a scene where they all went to church, the men brought their guns with them… and kept them between the knees… The Shepardsons did the same. It was ornery preaching… everyone said it was good sermon.” (Twain, p.114). Article “Racial and Religious Hypocrisy In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”” claims that the fact that families brought guns to a sermon preaching brotherly love is a sign of the absurdity of the situation (Killan). Twain continues using satire in Huckleberry Finn to mock the southern view of religion and the hypocrisy it can lead to.

Twain also uses Huckleberry Finn and his moral conflict throughout the novel to mock religious hypocrisy. Twain, for example, was told by the widow that he could have “anything [he] wanted”” (Twain, p.19), but he never got the hook for his fishline (the concept of prayer). Therefore, he began to doubt the value of praying. Chrissie Henning from University of Hawaii claims that spiritual gifts can seem exotic to someone like Huck. Although the widow explains that Huck’s true gift is helping others, Huck continues to doubt his ability to appreciate prayer. However, at the end of the novel Huck starts to question himself and to pray for Jim to escape.

This leads to the famous line “You can’t pray for a lie”” (Twain, p.214). Huck concludes that he would rather go into hell to help Jim escape than do “the right” thing. Henning continues to explain that Twain, through Huck Finn “states that religion and society are as bad as hell”. Twain’s views on religion can be seen through Huck’s thought process, and how that affects the viewpoints and morals of the protagonist throughout his story. Mark Twain’s beliefs and morals shine through the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain’s skeptical view of religion and hypocrisy of those who preach it shines through the novel, with characters like Miss Watson and Widow Douglas, as well as the Grangerfords and the protagonist, Huckleberry Finn. Twain shows how society acts brutally and hypocrisy, as well as the thinking process of a boy who tries to understand Christianity. Although the story was written in 19th century, many of the concepts Twain discussed about religion are still relevant today.

Satire in Huckleberry Finn: American RacismSatire in Huckleberry Finn

“Huckleberry Finn is the most prestigious American literary work. The novel has been praised by the best American writers and critics. Schools have banned the book for using racial slurs against Jim, a slave. This story takes place in a time when slavery was acceptable and even considered morally right.

America at that time considered blacks inferior to whites, and they were not treated with respect. Twain uses humor to demonstrate that racism was a strong presence in America in the pre-Civil War period. Many Americans accepted slavery as legal. The great American novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain shows racism through the depiction of characters, the use of the insulting word, nigger and the way the black slave, Jim is shown. Many characters in the story are racist throughout. Pop, Huck’s father, is the character that best embodies the entire nature of racism in the story.

Huck was influenced greatly by his father’s views on people of color. Huck gets drunk and says, “Call this a government,” which implies that the government is dishonorable. Huck continues saying “there was a nigger free there,” which suggests that Huck believes that blacks should be free. Huck adds “that ain’t a man there that has as fine clothes as him.” Mark Twain uses satire in Huckleberry Finn in this scene as an example of how whites at the time thought it was unfair for blacks not to be successful in life.

Pop, Huck’s father says many racial comments throughout the story. Pop claims that his father, Pop, said that he was a professor at a college and could speak all sorts of languages and knew everything. “And that ain’t the wust.” This is Mark Twain’s description of how white people in this period believed black people shouldn’t be smarter or more educated than whites.

Huck’s father said that Huck could vote when he was home. That’s it. Pop is referring to his views on black people being able to vote. At the time, white people did not believe that black people should have the right to vote or influence government. Pop made one of his last racial remarks. “They call that a government that can’t sale a free Nigerian ’til they have been in the state for six months.” He and most white people believe that it is morally wrong that a black person cannot sell. Mark Twain also shows that racism is still present today.

People, especially African Americans, have never found the N word offensive. My critics and readers of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn have been concerned about the use of N in Huckleberry Finn. “N word dialogue is a recent objection to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Rush (2006) describes it as a racist masterpiece. Wallace (1999, 16) calls it “the most grotesque instance of racist trash ever written.” (Siegfried). Mark Twain uses humor in Huckleberry Finn’s story to emphasize intolerance for people who have different opinions from your own and mock the behavior of white Americans at this time.

Satire in Huckleberry FinnMark Twain was aware that the N-word was a derogatory term. He used it ironically in his story. The N word is used by Mark Twain to refer to a historical necessity (Penn State), and not to offend anyone. Jim is the Huckleberry Finn character that Mark Twain used in Huckleberry Finn to demonstrate the absurdity of the N-word.

Jim’s actions and negative stereotypes of African Americans are supported by Jim. Jim and Huck talk about “spunkwater” in chapter 6. Tom Sawyer makes a racist comment saying that he has never seen a nigger who wouldn’t lie.” (Siegfried). Jim is complex and might be even more complex than Huck.

Jim is known for his loyalty, which is a strong character trait. Jim sticks by his friends throughout the novel. Jim once said that Huck was the only “white genlman dat ever kept his promise to ole Jim,” referring to Huck’s promise not to give Jim up as a runaway slave. Jim pledges his loyalty to Huck’s close friends in the novel. Jim risked his life to save Tom Sawyer after he was shot.

Jim believes that helping Huck could mean that he gives up his freedom but still helps Tom. Jim was concerned when Huck disappeared and he didn’t appear to be able to find him. Jim was delighted when Huck arrived. Jim said, “It is too good to be true honey, it’s too good to be true, let me look at you Chile and let you feel o’you.” There are several points in the story that Jim displays his intelligence.

Jim seems to have more street smarts that books. Jim uses superstition as a way to explain any situation. Jim is a model of compassion and self-sacrifice when he does the right thing for his family. Jim flees when he learns that Miss Watson wants to separate him from his family.

Huck is shocked to learn how Jim cares about his family. Huck said, “I believe he cared as much about his people as a white person does for their’n.” Although it doesn’t seem natural, I believe it is. Jim is a true family man. Huck also benefits from this “family man” trait. As the story progresses, Jim becomes a father figure for Huck. This is a “” relationship that temporarily transgresses era’s prevalent racist hierarchies.” (Valkeakari).

Satire in Huckleberry Finn: Faulty Educational System

Huck’s indifference to Jim’s injustice is evidence of Twain mockery of the education system at his time. Huck claims that he learned at school. However, this is false. Huck is a poor student, and his father, Pap, disapproves of him learning anything. Huck discovers that Pap can learn quickly and threatens him with this:

“… “… Your mother couldn’t read or write…I could…and you’re here, a-swelling as this.

Two other signs are important indicators that the society was not educated to the fullest extent of the term. First, con-artists like the Duke or King who fool most people. The feud between Feuds of Shepherdsons and Grangerfords is the second. This feud is responsible for many deaths, although the cause is unknown. Twain uses the dispute to criticize the foolishness of educated people, and to highlight the futility of the endeavor. Ironically, Twain adds a funny twist to the family-drama “Romeo and Juliet”. Twain declares that only lovers are alive.

Satire in Huckleberry Finn: SlaverySatire in Huckleberry Finn

This irony is easily demonstrated by Huck’s refusal to accept religious principles from Widow Douglas, while she continues to keep slaves. Twain uses satire in Huckleberry to demonstrate the hypocrisy widow Douglas had. Like her snuff-taking, which she accepts because it is what she does. Her fundamental sense of justice and humanity seems to have no connection with her religion. Huck’s pragmatic morality makes him more Christian that the widow, even though he doesn’t care about her principles. (Grant). (Grant). Twain’s points about the hypocrisy of religion and the contradictions it can sometimes bring to what is morally right are exemplified by Miss Watson and Widow Douglas. Huck is further introduced to the Grangerfords and their feud with Shepherdsons.

Satire in Huckleberry Finn: Educational System

Huck’s indifference to Jim’s injustice is evidence of Twain mockery of the education system at his time. Huck claims that he learned at school. However, this is false. Huck is a poor student, and his father, Pap, disapproves of him learning anything. Huck discovers that Pap can learn quickly and threatens him with this:

“… “… Your mother couldn’t read or write…I could…and you’re here, a-swelling as this.

Two other signs are important indicators that the society was not educated to the fullest extent of the term. First, con-artists like the Duke or King who fool most people. The feud between Feuds of Shepherdsons and Grangerfords is the second. This feud is responsible for many deaths, although the cause is unknown. Twain uses the dispute to criticize the foolishness of educated people, and to highlight the futility of the endeavor. Twain uses satire in Huckleberry Finn to talk about a lot of issues at the time but are still relevant today. Ironically, Twain adds a funny twist to the family-drama “Romeo and Juliet”. Twain declares that only lovers are alive.