Paps Drunkeness in Mark Twains Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The theme of alcoholism has long gripped the hearts and minds of America’s society. In Twains, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck’s father is ridiculed for his ignorance and racism. He is therefore depicted as the uncivilized, drunken father. In fact, Pap’s drunkenness characterizes the ills of behavior and society. For example, through Pap’s actions, we can see that he is considered white trash. He abuses the helping hands of those around him. “When he got out the new judge said he was a-going to make a man out of him….

. and in the night some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to the porch roof and slid down a stanchion, and traded his new coat for a jug of forty rod” (p. 32-33). This malignant truth can be found in society today, as people tend to bite the hand that feeds them.

In addition, Pap represents the barbarous father, as his drunken states cause him to act irrationally.

In fact, Twain give the audience a humorous depiction of a drunken Pap chasing Huck in an attempt to kill him. “He chased me round and round the place with a clasp knife, calling me the Angel of Death, and saying he would kill me” (p. 39). Through this humorous attempt, the novel teaches the reader that drinking can often lead to erratic actions, which in this case led to domestic abuse. Due to Pap’s recklessness, Huck is forced to run away.

This symbolizes how society needs to escape from the ills of behavior that stem for alcoholism.

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Also, Pap is considered to be extremely racist as he scorns a black professor he had seen. “There was this free n—– there from Ohio… the rest of his speech was all the hottest kind of language – mostly hove at the n—– and the govment” (p. 37-38). This racist depiction of Pap shows that he is conventional white trash as he believes that the black professor should be tied and sold. This is a conventional racist view, despite all the social reforms fixing going on after the Civil War. Pap Finn is essentially an accurately depicted character that exposes the ills of society. He depicts the racist white man who has no shame getting drunk and abusing those around him.

The use of Pap in this manner correctly incorporates the irrational views of people today and emphasizes the reduction of alcohol consumption in regards to preventing tragedy. Twain successfully ‘trashes’ Pap in a satirical manner by bringing laughter to the audience while making them aware of those around them who can be similarly described.

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Paps Drunkeness in Mark Twains Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. (2023, Feb 14). Retrieved from

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