Understanding Satire in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an adventure novel written by Mark Twain in 1885. Satire pervades The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with Twain examining the depravity of southern society in the years leading up to the Civil War. In the novel, Huck witnesses the evil actions of many of the townspeople. Consequently, he uses the river as an outlet to escape this cruelty and to express his freedom. The river frees Huck from the malevolence he experiences on land, comparable to my own experience of letting go of school-induced stress in the comfort of home.

Huck witnesses malfeasance in many situations on land, which leaves him to question what society has come to. Early in the novel, Pap, Huck’s drunken father, comes back to town demanding Huck’s money. Huck soon understands that his father is a wicked man saying, “But by and by pap got too handy with his hickory, and I couldn’t stand it. I was all over welt” (Twain 24).

In this case, immorality is displayed on land because Huck’s father beats Huck, and Huck wanted it to stop. This example is similar to how in my own life, I had to study for the PSAT a couple of months ago. Just as Huck dreaded having encounters with his abusive father, I dreaded studying for such a daunting test and just wanted to get it over with, thus school acted as “land” in this scenario. As Huck arrives at another town with the duke and the dauphin, they meet a man who says that a man named Peter Wilks has died and that he has left money and property to his brothers.

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Therefore, the duke and the dauphin act as if they are the brothers of Peter Wilks so that they can collect his will. Huck feels sickened by this ruse as he says, “It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race” (Twain 162). Evil on land is portrayed once again, as Huck realizes how malicious these actions are, with the duke and dauphin stooping so low as to pretend to be the brothers of a dead man so that they can collect the money that was left to “them” in his will. In my life, school is similar to land because although the school doesn’t call for the theft of a dead man’s family, it can be a place that robs us of our freedom and individuality. This is because, in school, most kids tend to conform to the acts of other kids, which can be seen with peer pressure and fear of being left out. This proves to be wretched, leaving kids with no distinctiveness.

Time and time again, Huck uses the river as an escape from the nefarious doings of others. As Huck flees from a brutal encounter between two families, the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons, he makes it to the raft and sets off down the Mississippi River, saying that he “was powerful glad to get away from the feuds” (Twain 116). Huck is happy to be able to leave the brutality and cruelty of land behind him, being free at last on the raft. Similarly, in my own life, there is a lot of stress surrounding junior year grades and standardized testing. However, just as Huck used the raft to get away from problems that he faced, the home acts as a “raft” to me because it allows me to escape any anxiety or worries that I may have. After Huck had been drifting down the river on the raft for some time, he says, “Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft doesn’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft” (Twain 116). The raft is more than just a mode of transportation for Huck, as it becomes a place for Huck to feel safe and comfortable, being separated from an ignominious society. This is like my life because home is more than just a place where I sleep and eat. It acts as a haven from all stress, giving me the chance to relax and spend time with my family. Later in the novel, Huck attempts to abscond the duke and dauphin and boards the raft, waiting for Jim. However, he learns that the dauphin has sold Jim to Silas Phelps. Huck then contemplates whether or not he should tell Miss Watson that Jim has been sold saying, “I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knew it. I studied a minute… and then says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’” (Twain 214). As Huck is on the raft once again, peace and goodness are shown, as Huck decides to do the opposite of what society would tell him to do. This portrays an escape from a diabolical society, with Huck deciding to help Jim escape from slavery even if it meant him going to “hell” and going against everything that he has been taught. hickory

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Understanding Satire in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". (2022, May 12). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/understanding-satire-in-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/

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