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Social Criticism – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Paper

American author and journalist, Ernest Hemingway, once claimed, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Hemingway is acknowledging the fact that Mark Twain is an exceptional author. He is stating that Twain’s work originates a new method of thought about writing books through his novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. During his time, Twain was well known for his “adventure” books in which he created stories that were funny yet meaningful. Growing up as a kid, he saw many injustices towards African Americans due to slavery, the hypocrisy of society and the naivete of people and consequently depicts these problems throughout his novels. He became a social critic and is known for being humorous about it, which is why people read his books. He softened his social criticism so society would not declare his works as promoting abolitionist views or be insulted. Therefore, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses humor to soften his social criticism.

Twain criticizes society’s prejudice towards African Americans through the troublesome duo of Huckleberry and Tom. In the beginning when Huckleberry escapes on a night adventure with Tom and is passing by Miss Watson’s property, they encounter Jim sleeping and mischievously trick him. The narrator asserts, “Afterwards Jim said the witches bewitched him in a trance, and rode him all over the State, and then set him under the trees again and hung his hat on a limb right over him” (8) During this time, it was common that people believed in witches because of the witch trials that would occur but part of what makes Jim believe this is the way Huckleberry and Tom planned this. By putting his hat on the top tree branch, Jim believed in his superstition that, therefore, made him believe that he was ridden by witches. Twain uses humor by making Jim realistically believe that he had traveled the entire state in one nig…

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