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Satire in Huck Finn

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Ian Imperial

on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of Satire in Huck Finn

Satire: The use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, and deriding vice folly, etc. Satire in Huck Finn Legal System Slavery Family Feuds Religious Hypocrisy Superstition Romanticism "The judge and the widow went to law to get the court to take me away from him and let one of them be my guardian; but it was a new judge that had just come, and he didn't know the old man; so he said courts mustn't interfere and separate families if they could help it; said he druther not take a child away from its father."
-pg.16 Although the townsfolk know of Pap's drunkenness, abuse, lack of education, and overall poor character, the court gives him custody because he's the biological father. This is an example of satire in America's legal system. At the time Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn, slavery had been abolished, but prejudice and racism had not. While there are many examples of cruelty towards Jim throughout the novel, the story is centered around Huck and Jim's adventure together, in which Huck actually starts to care for Jim, satirizing how some people treated slaves when they were actually good people. The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons' family feud satirizes the Civil War, in the fact that they have been fighting for so long but over something so unnecessary that sometimes they forget what exactly they were fighting for. In the Civil War's case, it was slavery. Twain is showing that the Civil War escalated into something so violent, with so many deaths over a long period of time, but it could have been settled if the people had just been a little more moralistic. "What was the trouble about, Buck? -land?"
"I reckon maybe-I don't know."
"Well, who done the shooting? - was it a Grangerford or a Shepherdson?"
"Laws, how do I know? it was so long ago."
-pg.82 "Did you want to kill him, Buck?"
"Well, I bet I did."
"What did he do to you?"
"Him? He never done nothing to me."
"Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?"
Why nothing-only it's on account of the feud."-pg.81 The story goes from Buck telling Huck about the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud to "Next Sunday we all went to church...the men took their guns along..."-pg.83
This shows the hypocrisy in how some people can say their good Christians because they go to church yet they don't practice it too well when they are out trying to kill one another. Miss Watson tells Huck, "don't put your feet up there" and "set up straight" and "she went on and told me all about the good place." -pg.2
"She told me to pray every day..."-pg.8
These are all examples of how Miss Watson tries to teach Huck about religion and how to behave but then she goes around, owning Jim, a slave. How religious is that? Towards the end of the novel, Tom and Huck try to set Jim free. However, in the process, Tom gets shot in the calf. While everyone is ready to execute Jim, the doctor explains how Jim helped save Tom, so they thought enslaving him would be a better idea. Then Tom explains how Miss Watson had set him free in her will when she died. Twain satirizes superstition throughout the novel, mostly through Jim. One example would be his hairball oracle on page 13. By giving it a quarter, he could listen to it and it would talk to him. When bit on the heel by a snake, Jim instructs Huck to "chop off the snake's head and throw it away, and then skin the body and roast a piece of it...Jim ate it and said it would help cure him..." pg.40 This goes to show how crazy and sometimes ludicrous people's superstitions can be. Some believe Twain is trying to confirm the validity in some superstitions, but seeing as though the novel satirizes many aspects of society, he was most like mocking superstitious people as well. Twain's main target for the satire of Romanticism is Tom Sawyer. "Ransomed? What's that?" "I don't know. But that's what they do. I've seen it in books."-pg.7 shows how Tom does thinks by the book, which is usually a Romantic Fiction. Another example is when Tom and Huck are trying to free Jim and Tom constructs an elaborate process including making a ladder to escape from a ground-level shed, showing how ridiculous Romanticism can be. Twain also satirizes Romanticism in his naming of the wrecked ship, "Walter Scott" after Romantic writer, Sir Walter Scott. By associating bad things with the ship, it shows how Twain believe Romanticism can be a dangerous thing.
Karrisa Nichols
Abby Thurber
Victoria Roehe
Morrgyn Kuhns
Ian Imperial
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