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Satire in Mark Twain's
Transcript of Satire in Mark Twain's
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas are pious christians but own slaves.
This highlights the hypocrisy with some extremely religious people who supposedly follow "the word of god" which says to love your neighbor and yet they treat their "neighbors" like animals and make them do hard labor for no pay.
Twain also notes how people like this seem to follow ideals from the bible rather than forming their own ideals and believe that anything that contradicts the bible is wrong.
Sentimentality & Gullibility
In this situation, Twain satirizes sentimentality when he makes Huck do things like sending a rescue party for the "rapscallions" on the ship as well as leaving some items behind on his journey after stealing things he needed for survival.
Twain's satire highlights how some people get sentimental about everything too much even if its not completely necessary like when Huck felt he had to sacrifice some items after stealing for survival; Huck is not helping anyone by abandoning a few items; he is only helping clear his own conscience.
Twain also satirizes gullibility by showing how even the duke and the dauphin, who are not the brightest pair, can dupe an entire town into buying tickets to terrible performances as well as into believing that they are other people like when they claimed to be Wilks family members.
Twain shows how some people can easily be fooled, but not everyone can be fooled all of the time because eventually the truth comes out. The duke and the dauphin never really learn this lesson of course and continue their shenanigans.
The Average Man
Romantic Literature's Mournful Subject Matter in Poetry & its Ridiculous Plots in Novels
In this situation, Twain satirizes the mournful subject matter of romantic literature in the poem by Emmeline Grangerford about deceased people.
While Emmeline seemed to have been trying to make a sentimental poem about a deceased person, to us it seemed a bit funny.
Twain satirizes the ridiculous plots in novels through Tom's fantasies about adventure which cause unnecessary work for Jim when he is trying to escape.
Twain is satirizing the ridiculous plots in novels like Don Quixote by depicting the effects those novels have on the readers the way he sees it, which is ridiculous and unrealistic thoughts about reality.
A Code of Honor that Results in Needless Bloodshed
In this situation the subject of the satire is the family feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons.
Their code of honor is basically like Hammurabi's law of "an eye for an eye" or in other words, if one family kills a member of the other family, then the affected family must kill a member of the family who attacked.
With this code of honor in place, neither family wins; eventually both family lineages will end if they continue to kill each other off.
In this situation Twain is satirizing the idea of wars between countries while also alluding to the family feud in
Romeo and Juliet.
This situation has an especially strong effect on religious readers which can go different ways depending on the person
1) The person will understand Twain's message but disregard it and continue with their ways
2) The person will misunderstand Twain's message and find it offensive.
3) The person will understand Twain's message and reflect on their own lives and possibly make a change in their attitudes when it comes to religion.
This situation can have a strong influence on open-minded people
The influence on the reader can be high because as the reader sees how the duke and the dauphin manipulate gullible people, the reader will begin to pity the duke and the dauphin's victims and may decide to stop taking advantage of gullible people if they already do so.
The influence can also be high because readers can see how one should not be too sentimental about everything and stop being the type of people who take pictures of everything and pick up every stray dog or cat they see because they feel too sentimental about everything.
The influence on the reader is moderate because the satire regarding the average man does not change the reader's personal ideologies much but instead enlightens him/her to the fact that there are many people out there who simply follow the crowd like mindless sheep and do not think much for themselves nor attempt to take risks and diverge from the crowd in any way.
The influence upon the reader is strong because the reader can relate this satiric situation to the current world which is constantly at war in one way or another. The reader may become more inclined for peace when they realize that there are no true victors in the wars going on around them.
The influence on young readers is powerful because it gives them a reality check by showing them that not everything can be fun and fantastical and that in real life one must be practical.
In this situation, Twain emphasizes how "the average man" in society always follows the same route day in and day out the way the lazy men who fought over chewing tobacco do.
Colonel Sherburn's speech put the "average" townspeople in their place when he reminds them of what they truly are: spineless, mindless sheep who can only act in groups and never dare to think or act for themselves
The crowd threatening to lynch Sherbern retreat because they know that what he says about them is true and they do not even dare to prove him wrong which further proves his point in saying what they really are.