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Huck Finn.... A Satire on American Institutions?
Transcript of Huck Finn.... A Satire on American Institutions?
A Satire on American Institutions What is Satire? The use of irony, sarcasm or ridicule in exposing vice. What is institutionalism? A belife in the usefullnesss or sanctity
of established institutions. Background Info Gladys Carmen Bellamy claims that the three main characters of the novel
Tom, Huck and Jim represent three levels of civilization. Tom represents high class
Jim is naive and like Tom bound by his institutions
Huck is the only one "free" of those bonds with no real rules to follow The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" explores the relationships among people from different racial groups,
"The American" is focused on the transfer of national identity to another continent, one that is perceived to
be more cultured than the United States. The dualistic dynamics at play in the novel establishes the tension
that the author manipulates in order to use satire as a means of criticizing social and cultural constructions. An indepth look! In "Huck Finn" one of the most important criticisms that Twain lodged against North American culture was its enslavement of blacks. A serious subject to be sure, Twain made the subject interesting and provocative because of the way that he used humor and biting criticism and satire to attack what was called a peculiar social institution. There are many moments in "Huck Finn" where Twain exposes the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of slavery through satiric means; one of these episodes is when Jim is being held in a shed owned by the otherwise good, Christian family. The family needed Jim’s help to complete a task that they could not do on their own, so they went to the shed, unshackled him briefly, asked him to help them, and then returned him to the shed. In this moment, Jim has the chance to escape but does not, and the ridiculousness of the situation is exposed through this ironic exchange between the captive Jim and his temporary masters.
Mark Twain omits key points or does not talk about certain important episodes in order to create an art of tragedy. Something was so tragic that even the author could not properly describe it. One example is the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, which Huck tries to block out and tries not to remember the gruesome details. This omission purposefully emphasizes the violence and shock value for the reader. Finding the raft and Jim after this bloodshed is a metaphor for home and peace. The king and duke are strong characters that represent the wrongs in society. Twain’s voice is coming through Huck’s kind of communication when condemning the wrongs of violence. Mark Twain is digging at militarism when describing the Colonel Sherburn scene. The objectivity of Twain’s voice rings through, but the force of the scene is so strong, the illusion that it is still Huck is not broken. The scene quickly shifts from violent cruelty to sombered depression. The detchament of others around the scene emphasize the complete hysteria and utter unemotional side of the situation. With each new experience Huck’s experience widens and he grows and matures. Huck’s sympathy for murderers and sympathy for deaths brings him to reality and truly realize the cruelty in society
multiple choice questions
SATIRE MC QUESTIONS
1)In context, the word “institutionalism” is best understood to mean:
d)Idea of free will
e)Belief in usefulness of established institutions
2)The passage, “A Satire on Institutionalism” focuses primarily on…
a)The three levels of civilization seen in Huck Finn
b)Huck’s character development
c)Power of characters relationship on one another
d)Mark Twain’s personal life
e)Sharp contrast between fantasy and reality
3)Bellamy’s intended audience is primarily:
4)The tone of the section,“A hint of determinism” is?...
a)Angry and scolding
b)Satirical and comical
c)Informative and persuasive
d)Informative and carefree
e)Abrupt and anti-climactic
5)What is the primary goal of this essay?
b)Show the audience the symbolism between ‘Huck Finn’ and American institutions
c)To create immediate connections between Huck Finn and Twain while allowing the influence of other writers ensue
d)Create parallelism between Mark Twain’s style of writing and the American culture
e)To illustrate the corruption that is American civilization
Satire MC Answers
Gladys Carmen Bellamy argues that Mark Twain's view on institutionalism is mocking American society. Huck, Tom and Jim each represent a different part of civilization. Although he represents an artificial one, Tom is on the highest level of society. Jim is a primitive filled with superstition, and on the lowest level of civilization. He can't do anything against his taboo fears and superstitions. Like Tom, he is in bondage to his institution, which is slavery. Both Tom and Jim believe they are always right because they follow their institutions, but Tom has no rules to follow, therefore he is free.
Huck is a natural man, not restrained by institutionalism. He represents Walt Whitman's great American dream, as someone who is independent, simple and free. Even though he follows Tom at times and falls for Jim's superstitions, he is guided by himself. After the first thematic element of the story(the setting of St. Petersburg and its characters), Huck is confronted by his drunken father Pap. Pap is violent and believes he is the victim of society. When Huck runs away to Jackson Island, he feels peaceful and his conflicts end.
Themes in Huck Finn
The novel follows a thematic pattern starting with a care free romanticized theme then (after chapter 16) the theme becomes extremley satirical. Finally, as the book comes to an end the romanticized motif reoccurs.
The Art of Restraint
A SATIRE ON INSTITUTIONALISM Unlike Tom and Jim, Huck lacks an idea of institutionalism, primarily because he does not have a strict moral code to follow. Huck has the ability to choose, and he always follows his own moral compass.
Just like Hemingway, he tests his characters using morals that can only be found within the character himself. Strong Characters Tom on the other hand has to live by the rules of his books.
However, Tom has trouble distinguishing between reality and fantsy as it is evident in the
last half of the book.
Summing it all up Is the subject of class. In fact, class and culture are portrayed as concepts and social constructs that are linked inextricably. Clearly, in "Huck Finn" the main characters are of the lowest social castes in society, and Twain pokes fun at them a bit, emphasizing the idiosyncracies of their language, their dress, and their social habits. Twain does not intend to be shaming, however; instead, he simply wants the reader to see and comprehend how others view these characters, and how class status shaped their experiences and the responses to them as people. This is one of the most sophisticated uses of satire in "Huck Finn", as it subverts the reader’s expectations and compels him or her to figure out just what Twain means when he makes fun of characters for whom he really wishes the reader to feel great empathy. Twain effectively conveys to the reader that class is a social construct; in other words, it is not natural or inherent to any society, but it is developed as a way to separate people from one another. Through his deft use of satiric commentary, Twain calls the reader to question the value and utility of such social constructions.
Mark Twain tried, and succeded, in using 7 different dialects throughout the novel in order to show that all of the characters are not the same but he does it so seemlessly that the changes in dialect do not detract from the book.
From the first time Jim was shown, Mark Twain wanted to express him as a figure of dignity because of all of the abuse he has endured.
Huck has a strong, vivid imagination gives vigor and freshness to the novel by separating him from the other characters.
The End MiChAeL cUlP