Twain's Complete American Satire
Huckleberry Finn is a complex novel chock full of hidden messages. In fewer than 300 pages, Twain is able to address many controversial issues, including slavery, religion, racism, truth, and most importantly society as a whole. Twain's satire is a multi-pronged attack on American culture, most specifically the South, and is dominated by his attack on the people and their customs. He portrays the poor, lower class citizens as witty, resourceful, and intelligent, while the wealthier citizens are ignorant, hypocritical, and deceitful. Twain, a Southern Mississippi River boy himself, is especially critical of the Southern hick. Twain never misses an opportunity to carp their faults. Twain is grossly unsatisfied with American society and does everything possible in Huckleberry Finn to convey this. Huck is a highly critical book bent on exposing the flaws and inadequacies of American society.
Throughout Huck Finn religion is a central theme.
Twain wastes no time in chastising all forms of organized religion. The religious characters are portrayed as hypocritical and selfish. Mrs. Watson, who claims to be good, kind-hearted Christian, is somehow able to own slaves, and lash out against Negroes, while still retaining her lofty Christian morals. Teenagers constantly flirt and make passes during church services. Also in church, during the appropriately titled sermon "brotherly love," the Grangerfords and Shephardsons hold each other at gunpoint throughout. Only weak, unstable people stoop so low as to resort to religion, a crutch for which to hold themselves up. Twain also argues religion gives people a distorted view of the world and causes them to make false judgments. Decisions should come from within, and religion along with any other outside source will only inhibit one's judgment. Religion is not nearly as actively involved in modern day society as it was when Huck...