Mark Twain And Huckleberry Finn

Word Count: 1411 |

After reading Huck Finn I have gained so much respect for Mark Twain and what he did for books all over the world. The thing I enjoy most about this book is the subtle humor that is interlaced with the satire. Twain uses generous amounts of satire of the white man’s cruelty to black people, of religious hypocrisy, of Romanticism, and of superstition both to amuse the reader and, more importantly, to make the reader aware of the social problems which Twain saw at the time of his youth. The era and setting in which The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn takes place is fundamental to the story but the character’s identities themselves could be placed in just about any modern novel or story.
I think some of the books most obvious forms of satire result from dehumanizing black people. They all treat slaves as these emotionless robots that are only there to serve and work. The common mentality of a Southern white male actually believed black people were a different species of man; a lower race of people designed only for labor. This mindset goes back hundreds of years but it is especially noticeable in Huck Finn because of all of the racial tension in the South after the blacks were set free. People from the South really did not want to start accepting black people into everyday society so they tried to segregate them as many ways as possible and created extremely strict laws that really prevented black people from attaining even the most basic of freedoms. There is an excellent example of satire and irony on page 213,
“Good gracious! anybody hurt?!”
“No’m. Killed a nigger.”
“Well it’s lucky…two years ago the old Lally Rook blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled a man . He was a Baptist, I remember, he did die.”
Aunt Sally was talking to Uncle Silas and thought nothing of the death of a slave that was shot no less than five minutes ago but she can shed a tear for this random old ferryboat employee that died in an accident years ago. You can see that by including one of these small social outings Mark Twain is saying much more about how people in Reconstruction-era Southern society thought and what they viewed was important. Also in the very beginning of the story Huck talks about the discomfort of being civilized because in his mind the people that consider themselves civilized aren’t really good people. So in Huck’s mind, in order to be civilized and a member of society you have to judge people and dress all fancy and hate things just because it’s tradition. Huck is an infinitely better person morally because of his fairness, compassion, logic, and because it is just in his nature to be a caring person.
Pap is a tool that Mark Twain uses to vent his frustration and to show people what a real Southern dirt bag is like. Pap is the worst of the worst; he is a lying, racist, violent, irrational, unreliable old drunk. I think Twain chose to include him as a character because he could show everybody who read the book what sort of people blacks were up against. Pap is a vile person that lies all through the story about everything and beats his kid for wanting an education. There is a lot of irony in the situation with the judge too. Pap actually takes the effort to go to the judge’s house and begs the judge to let him keep custody of Huck. The judge believes that Pap has gone sober and turned to the power of prayer but what the judge doesn’t see is that Pap really just wants custody of Huck because Huck has some money to his name. It really saddens me to see Huck treated like this, even though he is a fictional character. Huck is this sweet little innocent kid that is being told what to think and what to do by so many people that I don’t know how he ends up alright. Huck cares about everyone and has a very forgiving and sincere personality. Even after the Duke and King sell Jim he takes the time to think about what it would be like to be in their position and tries to imagine what they are going through. On page 234 Huck says, “Well, it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I couldn’t ever feel any hardness against them any more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see. Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.” I think it’s the little contradictions like these that you can take and apply to Southern society as a whole and see how easily fooled and gullible people were back then.
There are a lot of subtle parts to this book that seem to poke fun at very devout religious people but Twain never portrays the religious fanatics as bad people, just people whose hearts are in the right place but have the facts mixed up upstairs. The most obvious and prominent victim of Twain’s religious satire is Miss Watson. Her hypocritical views and lectures make her an enemy of Huck, even though she is his caretaker too. For example, she is constantly telling Huck to clean up his act and quit smoking and to do what he is told. Huck is smarter than that though, if he sees her with her snuffbox and swearing and not doing anything all day then why on Earth would Huck do any of those things? Huck is also confused about slavery. He was brought up to think that slavery was a normal part of life and that it was inevitably the only choice black people had back then, however, Huck sees that even though Jim is Miss Watson’s property, he needs to help him. Miss Watson is going around preaching and telling people to help their fellow man and treat others as you would want to be treated but she owns a slave that she had to separate from his family in order to obtain. One thing I really like about Huck is that he doesn’t really care about fitting into society and being a goody two-shoes. When Huck is on the raft he is free from society’s rules and this freedom allows Huckleberry to make decisions on his own and react to stressful situations however he wants to. Huck’s decisions are always the better decision anyways.
One of the most obvious inclusions of satire in Huckleberry Finn is the irony of Tom’s Romantic ideals and their irrelevance to almost all of the situations. Tom is obsessed with doing everything how the books do it and accepts the pieces of literature as fact. He is convinced that all of those events actually happened and that the only way to be successful in his little adventures is to do exactly what happened in the novels. I think Tom Sawyer is sort of like a door into the lives of the upper class. He shows Huck Finn and his rag-tag posse what more sophisticated people do and learn. Also, I feel that Mark Twain chose to make Huck Finn the better person morally because there was a stereotype back then that poor people just couldn’t be as “good” as rich people. But by the simple act of making Tom Sawyer a member of distinguished society and dumbing down the Tom Sawyer character, he can insert his own beliefs and say that you don’t have to be rich to be a good person.
After reading this story I have learned a great deal about how many superstitions people have. Jim is probably the most inventive and superstitious person I have ever imagined. He truly thinks that the littlest things always end up determining the outcome of his situations. We dismiss most of Jim’s superstitions and beliefs at first but as the story progresses you learn that a lot of his beliefs are based on some sort of tangible experience he has had at some time. All through the story I think this sort of reminds Huck that what society believes isn’t always right. In the beginning of the novel Jim is sort of made to look very gullible, even to the point of stupidity. But as you keep reading you can make conclusions about Jim’s character, his simplicity becomes common sense and he always chooses the right path for him and Huck to follow. On page fifty-six Jim says, “Never you mind, honey, never you mind. Don’t you git too peart. It’s acomin’. Mind I tell you, it’s a-comin’.” Jim’s ability to predict the storm makes Huck sort of look at him in a different light. He no longer sees Jim as being stupid and starts to recognize his generous and caring nature. The obvious reason Huck and Jim enjoy each other’s company so much is because they are two very thoughtful and compassionate people.
Overall I am glad that I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because it gave me a better understanding of where the people from America came from and how we were influenced. The satire and irony of the conflicts found in this story are indeed very humorous and amusing but are all part of a bigger picture to show the gullibility and naivety of Southern society.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Allegory Of American Pie By Don Mc Lean

Ask anyone what was the defining moment in the rock history of the 1960s was and all you will get is a one word answer: Woodstock. The three day rock festival that defined an era was only one of many music festivals of the '60s. But Woodstock has come to symbolize, "an era of peaceful, free- loving, drug- taking hippie youth, carefree before harsher realities hit..." (Layman 40). The Woodstock festival ended a century filled with many metamorphoses of rock'n'roll, from the era of pop music to the rebirth of folk music to the invention of acid rock. But some cynics say that rock'n'roll died with the death of Buddy Holly before the 60s even began. One such person is Don McLean. The poet behind the haunting epic song about the death of 'danceable' music, McLean wrote the ever popular song, "American Pie" (appendix 1). The most important song in rock'n'roll history, "American Pie", is the song about the demise of rock'n'roll after Buddy Holly's death and the heathenism of rock that resulted. Although McLean himself won't reveal any symbolism in his songs, "American Pie" is one of the most analyzed pieces of literature in modern society. Although not all of its secrets have been revealed, many "scholars" of the sixties will agree that the mystery of this song is one of the reasons it has become so successful- everyone wants to know the meanings of its allegories. Proof of "American Pie's" truth lies in the allegory of the song. Many People enjoy the song but have no idea what it means- Who is the Jester? What is the levee? When the deeper story is found, the importance of the song is unearthed. "American Pie" is not only a song, it is an epic poem about the course of rock'n'roll...

Carl Orffs Philosophies In Music Education

While Carl Orff is a very seminal composer of the 20th century, his greatest success and influence has been in the field of Music Education. Born on July 10th in Munich, Germany in 1895, Orff refused to speak about his past almost as if he were ashamed of it. What we do know, however, is that Orff came from a Bavarian family who was very active in the German military. His father's regiment band would often play through some of the young Orff's first attempts at composing. Although Orff was adamant about the secrecy of his past, Moser's Musik Lexicon says that he studied in the Munich Academy of Music until 1914. Orff then served in the military in the first world war. After the war, he held various positions in the Mannheim and Darmstadt opera houses then returned home to Munich to further study music. In 1925, and for the rest of his life, Orff was the head of a department and co-founder of the Guenther School for gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich where he worked with musical beginners. This is where he developed his Music Education theories. In 1937, Orff's Carmina Burana premiered in Frankfurt, Germany. Needless to say, it was a great success. With the success of Carmina Burana, Orff orphaned all of his previous works except for Catulli Carmina and the En trata which were rewritten to be acceptable by Orff. One of Orff's most admired composers was Monteverdi. In fact, much of Orff's work was based on ancient material. Orff said: I am often asked why I nearly always select old material, fairy tales and legends for my stage works. I do not look upon them as old, but rather as valid material. The time element disappears, and only the spiritual power remains. My...

Johann Sebastian Bach Biography

Throughout the history of music, many great composers, theorists, and instrumentalists have left indelible marks and influences that people today look back on to admire and aspire to. No exception to this idiom is Johann Sebastian Bach, whose impact on music was unforgettable to say the least. People today look back to his writings and works to both learn and admire. He truly can be considered a music history great. Bach, who came from a family of over 53 musicians, was nothing short of a virtuosic instrumentalist as well as a masterful composer. Born in Eisenach, Germany, on March 21, 1685, he was the son of a masterful violinist, Johann Ambrosius Bach, who taught his son the basic skills for string playing. Along with this string playing, Bach began to play the organ which is the instrument he would later on be noted for in history. His instruction on the organ came from the player at Eisenach's most important church. He instructed the young boy rather rigorously until his skills surpassed anyone?s expectations for someone of such a young age. Bach suffered early trauma when his parents died in 1695. He went to go live with his older brother, Johann Christoph, who also was a professional organist at Ohrdruf. He continued his younger brother's education on that instrument, as well as introducing him to the harpsichord. The rigorous training on these instruments combined with Bach?s masterful skill paid off for him at an early age. After several years of studying with his older brother, he received a scholarship to study in Luneberg, Germany, which is located on the northern tip of the country. As a result, he left his brother?s tutelage and went to go and study there. The teenage years brought Bach to several parts of Germany where he...


Michelangelo was pessimistic in his poetry and an optimist in his artwork. Michelangelo?s artwork consisted of paintings and sculptures that showed humanity in it?s natural state. Michelangelo?s poetry was pessimistic in his response to Strazzi even though he was complementing him. Michelangelo?s sculpture brought out his optimism. Michelangelo was optimistic in completing The Tomb of Pope Julius II and persevered through it?s many revisions trying to complete his vision. Sculpture was Michelangelo?s main goal and the love of his life. Since his art portrayed both optimism and pessimism, Michelangelo was in touch with his positive and negative sides, showing that he had a great and stable personality. Michelangelo?s artwork consisted of paintings and sculptures that showed humanity in it?s natural state. Michelangelo Buonarroti was called to Rome in 1505 by Pope Julius II to create for him a monumental tomb. We have no clear sense of what the tomb was to look like, since over the years it went through at least five conceptual revisions. The tomb was to have three levels; the bottom level was to have sculpted figures representing Victory and bond slaves. The second level was to have statues of Moses and Saint Paul as well as symbolic figures of the active and contemplative life- representative of the human striving for, and reception of, knowledge. The third level, it is assumed, was to have an effigy of the deceased pope. The tomb of Pope Julius II was never finished. What was finished of the tomb represents a twenty-year span of frustrating delays and revised schemes. Michelangelo had hardly begun work on the pope?s tomb when Julius commanded him to fresco the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to complete the work done in the previous century under Sixtus IV. The overall organization consists of four large triangles at...

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin Ireland on October 16, 1854. He is one of the most talented and most controversial writers of his time. He was well known for his wit, flamboyance, and creative genius and with his little dramatic training showing his natural talent for stage and theatre. He is termed a martyr by some and may be the first true self-publicist and was known for his style of dress and odd behavior. Wilde, 1882 His Father, William Wilde, was a highly accredited doctor and his mother, Jane Francesca Elgee, was a writer of revolutionary poems. Oscar had a brother William Charles Kingsbury along with his father's three illegitimate children, Henry, Emily, and Mary. His sister, Isola Emily Francesca died in 1867 at only ten years of age from a sudden fever, greatly affecting Oscar and his family. He kept a lock of her hair in an envelope and later wrote the poem 'Requiescat' in her memory. Oscar and his brother William both attended the Protora Royal School at Enniskillen. He had little in common with the other children. He disliked games and took more interest in flowers and sunsets. He was extremely passionate about anything that had to do with ancient Greece and with Classics. Wilde during school years In 1871, he was awarded a Royal School Scholarship to Trinity College in Dublin and received many awards and earned the highest honor the college offered to an undergraduate, the Foundation Scholarship. In 1874, he also won the College's Berkley Gold Medal for Greek and was awarded a Demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford. After graduating from Oxford, Oscar moved to London with his friend Frank Miles, a well-known portrait painter of the time. In 1878 his poem Ravenna was published, for which he won the...

The History Of Greek Theater

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece took form in about 5th century BCE, with the Sopocles, the great writer of tragedy. In his plays and those of the same genre, heroes and the ideals of life were depicted and glorified. It was believed that man should live for honor and fame, his action was courageous and glorious and his life would climax in a great and noble death. Originally, the hero's recognition was created by selfish behaviors and little thought of service to others. As the Greeks grew toward city-states and colonization, it became the destiny and ambition of the hero to gain honor by serving his city. The second major characteristic of the early Greek world was the supernatural. The two worlds were not separate, as the gods lived in the same world as the men, and they interfered in the men's lives as they chose to. It was the gods who sent suffering and evil to men. In the plays of Sophocles, the gods brought about the hero's downfall because of a tragic flaw in the character of the hero. In Greek tragedy, suffering brought knowledge of worldly matters and of the individual. Aristotle attempted to explain how an audience could observe tragic events and still have a pleasurable experience. Aristotle, by searching the works of writers of Greek tragedy, Aeschulus, Euripides and Sophocles (whose Oedipus Rex he considered the finest of all Greek tragedies), arrived at his definition of tragedy. This explanation has a profound influence for more than twenty centuries on those writing tragedies, most significantly Shakespeare. Aristotle's analysis of tragedy began with a description of the effect such a work had on the audience as a "catharsis" or purging of the emotions. He decided that catharsis was the purging of two specific emotions, pity and...

Scholarship Essay About Goals

Ever since I was a young kid I have always been interested with aircraft. I was so curious of how airplane's fly. I remember taking my toys apart to see how it works. As a kid I wanted to go to the airport to watch the airplanes land and fly and pondered how this happens. Other kids wanted to go to the amusement places. As I grew older I became more and more interested in aircraft and the technology behind it. I always involved myself with aviation early on. I read books and magazines on aviation, took museum tours, built model airplanes. When I was younger my father would take me to aircraft repair facilities where I would watch in great fascination. In my teens, went up to the military bases and befriended many soldiers involved with aircraft and asked them numerous questions. I got to meet many aeronautics engineers and borrowed their old textbooks and read them till the wee hours of the morning. As technology improved with information superhighway, I logged on the web. Stayed up for hours and hours searching through web pages and web pages of information about aircraft and technology. I started my elementary school in the Philippines, then we moved to U.S. and continued my high school education and graduated. Enrolled at the CCSF to pursue my college education and now I am in the 2nd year in CCSF taking aeronautics. My goal now is to obtain my AS degree from the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) so I can transfer to a University and get a Bachelors degree and to continue for my Masters degree in Aeronautics Engineering. I will strive hard to reach the peak level of my career which is a Professor and hopefully to be an aeronautic professor so...

Circus Circus Enterprises Case Studies

Executive Summary: Circus Circus Enterprises is a leader and will continue to be in the gaming industry. In recent years, they have seen a decline in profit and revenue; management tends to blame the decrease on continuing disruptions from remodeling, expansion, and increased competition. Consequently, Circus has reported decreases in its net income for 1997 and 1998 and management believes this trend will continue as competition heightens. Currently the company is involved in several joint ventures, its brand of casino entertainment has traditionally catered to the low rollers and family vacationers through its theme park. Circus should continue to expand its existing operations into new market segments. This shift will allow them to attract the up scale gambler. Overview Circus Circus Enterprises, Inc founded in 1974 is in the business of entertainment, with its core strength in casino gambling. The company?s asset base, operating cash flow, profit margin, multiple markets and customers, rank it as one of the gaming industry leaders. Partners William G. Bennett an aggressive cost cutter and William N. Pennington purchased Circus Circus in 1974 as a small and unprofitable casino. It went public in 1983, from 1993 to 1997; the average return on capital invested was 16.5%. Circus Circus operates several properties in Las Vegas, Reno, Laughlin, and one in Mississippi, as well as 50% ownership in three other casinos and a theme park. On January 31,1998 Circus reported net income of 89.9 million and revenues of 1.35 billion, this is a down from 100 million on 1.3 billion in 1997. Management sees this decline in revenue due to the rapid and extensive expansion and the increased competition that Circus is facing. Well established in the casino gaming industry the corporation has its focus in the entertainment business and has particularly a popular theme resort concept....

Effect Of Civil War On American Economy

The Economies of the North and South, 1861-1865 In 1861, a great war in American history began. It was a civil war between the north and south that was by no means civil. This war would have great repercussions upon the economy of this country and the states within it. The American Civil War began with secession, creating a divided union of sorts, and sparked an incredibly cataclysmic four years. Although the actual war began with secession, this was not the only driving force. The economy of the Southern states, the Confederacy, greatly if not entirely depended on the institution of slavery. The Confederacy was heavily reliant on agriculture, and they used the profits made from the sale of such raw materials to purchase finished goods to use and enjoy. Their major export was cotton, which thrived on the warm river deltas and could easily be shipped to major ocean ports from towns on the Mississippi and numerous river cities. Slavery was a key part of this, as slaves were the ones who harvested and planted the cotton. Being such an enormous unpaid work force, the profits made were extraordinarily high and the price for the unfinished goods drastically low in comparison; especially since he invention of the cotton gin in 1793 which made the work all that much easier and quicker. In contrast, the economical structure of the Northern states, the Union, was vastly dependent on industry. Slavery did not exist in most of the Union, as there was no demand for it due to the type of industrial development taking place. As the Union had a paid work force, the profits made were lower and the cost of the finished manufactured item higher. In turn, the Union used the profits and purchased raw materials to use. This cycle...

Evaluation Of The Effectiveness Of Trade Embargoes

Although I am a strong critic of the use and effectiveness of economic sanctions, such as trade embargoes, for the sake of this assignment, I will present both their theoretical advantages and their disadvantages based upon my research. Trade embargoes and blockades have traditionally been used to entice nations to alter their behavior or to punish them for certain behavior. The intentions behind these policies are generally noble, at least on the surface. However, these policies can have side effects. For example, FDR's blockade of raw materials against the Japanese in Manchuria in the 1930s arguably led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which resulted in U.S. involvement in World War II. The decades-long embargo against Cuba not only did not lead to the topple of the communist regime there, but may have strengthened Castro's hold on the island and has created animosity toward the United States in Latin America and much suffering by the people of Cuba. Various studies have concluded that embargoes and other economic sanctions generally have not been effective from a utilitarian or policy perspective, yet these policies continue. Evaluation of the effectiveness of Trade Embargoes Strengths Trade embargoes and other sanctions can give the sender government the appearance of taking strong measures in response to a given situation without resorting to violence. Sanctions can be imposed in conjunction with other measures to achieve conflict prevention and mitigation goals. Sanctions may be ineffective: goals may be too elusive, the means too gentle, or cooperation from other countries insufficient. It is usually difficult to determine whether embargoes were an effective deterrent against future misdeeds: embargoes may contribute to a successful outcome, but can rarely achieve ambitious objectives alone. Some regimes are highly resistant to external pressures to reform. At the same time, trade sanctions may narrow the...