Mark Twain expresses his feelings and thoughts about the dark sides of human nature through this book "Jim's and Huck's behavior takes the form of anything but saintliness . . ."ÃÂ (Foner 117) in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. "That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly."ÃÂ (Clemens 7). In the first paragraph of the novel, Huck Finn has already brought up the lies and truth into his story. Mark Twain expresses his feelings and thoughts about the dark sides of human nature through this book.
As the story progresses, the readers find out that almost all of the characters pretend to be something that they are not. "The whole slaveholding society is made up of actors and pretenders - pretending to believe in brotherhood, gentleness and Christian charity while killing, cheating and imprisoning each other."ÃÂ (Johnson 23). The first pretender in the book is Ms.
Watson. She assumes the role of a religious figure when she herself owns a slave and constantly talks about damning people to the "bad place"ÃÂ. Childish play could also be considered a form of pretending Ben Rogers, Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Jo Harper meet up and decide to form a gang called "Tom Sawyer's Gang"ÃÂ. The boys claim to be a group of murderers and thieves when they are actually little boys that just want to have some fun. Pap is the father of Huck, but not very much of one. He's the town drunk, at one point in the book Pap feigns to be a reformed drunk at the new Judge's house. The judge gives him a new coat, which he trades for whisky. He ends up getting drunk, falling and breaking his arm. Throughout the book the King and Duke are the prime example of pretender's and are even called such by Huck Finn "It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes, at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds"ÃÂ (Clemens 102). They go and cheat unsuspecting people from towns out of their money and then when someone catches them, they just move on to the next town. Huck pretends that he does not know that the King and Duke are frauds even when he does. Sometimes people pretend that they don't know something just to protect themselves. Huck is trying to protect himself and Jim from these two figures that are overpowering them.
Huck pretends that he has several different identities, such as Sarah Mary Williams, George Peters, George Jackson and Tom Sawyer. People in our society often falsify their identity to get what they want. When Huck played the part of Sarah Mary Williams he tries to find out how the town was reacting to Huck and Jim's disappearance from a lady in St. Petersburg. Huck gets what he wants when she tells him that she saw smoke on Jackson's Island. Huck, then, is so anxious to get back to the island so that he and Jim can leave, he forgets he is playing the part of a girl. When the lady discovers that Huck is a boy he makes up yet another story saying that his name is George Peters. He claims that he has escaped from a mean master and that he had fled to Goshen. She tells him that this is not Goshen that it is St. Petersburg. He tells her how someone must have played a trick on him and leaves to return to the island. Jim and he then escape. Later when Jim and Huck are going down the river a steamboat crashes into their raft and swims to the shore. When he gets there he is in front of the Sheperdson's house. He must give himself a new identity so that he will not get caught, he comes up with the name George Jackson. He says that he fell overboard from a steamboat and has just swum to their house. They buy his story, he gets what he wants and is able to protect is identity. Huck also plays the part of Tom Sawyer, his friend when he comes to the Phelp's farm and they mistake him for Tom. He just plays along and lets Aunt Sally think he is Tom. Jim also pretends that he is Huck's slave in front of the King and Duke just to protect himself from them. If the King and Duke know that he is a free man, they can easily sell him back into slavery while being in the south.
Huck lies to the King and Duke and makes up his family background since he really has very little of one. Often times people pretend to be something that they are not just to make things more exciting and important. Jim's whole escape with Huck and Tom is false because Tom just wants to have a good time and is using Huck and Jim to get what he wants. People are used and people use others everyday to get what they want.
"Huck, who is so concerned with truth and lies that he brings up the subject in the first paragraph of his tale . . ."ÃÂ (Johnson 20). Huck lies about his own death by feigning to be dead. It is a lie to Pap, Ms. Watson and the rest of the town. He finally decided to do this when Pap almost killed him after a drunken delusion and had him locked him up in his cabin. All lies do not have to be where a person tells another a false fact. Lies can also be something that a person knows but fails to tell another. A good example of this is when Jim does not tell Huck that it was Pap under the blanket in the floating house. People also turn blame on others in society today, society in slaveholding times and most likely society in the future.
Throughout the book violence is a very apparent theme. Towards the beginning of the story Jim and Huck go into a floating house to get anything they can salvage. Jim walks in first and they both see a man that was murdered and Jim quickly covers him up with a blanket. Almost at the very end of the book the readers discover that this was Huck's Pap. The Grangerford versus Sheperdson Feud shows how pointless some battles between two parties can be. Neither of the families could even remember how the feud had started yet they still were murdering each other. Pap being found in the floating house shot in the back implies murderous happenings. This makes the readers wonder who hated Pap so much that they would shoot the man in the back.
There was a man named Boggs, who was obviously a drunk who tries to portray being a cold-blooded murder. Everyone thinks this is funny except Colonel Sherburn who is the person that Boggs is claiming that he is going to murder. Everyone explains to Huck that Boggs is a good-hearted man but just gets this way when he has had too much to drink. Colonel Sherburn has finally had enough of the old drunken man cussing him and threatening to kill him. As a result he tells Boggs that he will give him to 1 o'clock to stop harassing him. At 1 o'clock Colonel Sherburn comes with a pistol raises it into the air calmly and shoots Boggs down. Sherburn returns to home with ease. The town wants to lynch him and must all get drunk just so that they can have the drunken courage to do it. Twain shows how that one strong man can control many. Colonel Sherburn simply steps out onto his porch with a double-barreled shotgun not saying a word and looks at the lynch mob with a stern face. He then gives a stern lecture about how the mob can not do anything to a "ÃÂreal man' such as himself.
When Jim and Huck are in the raft going down the Mississippi River a steamboat crashes into the raft mercilessly, barely slowing. The people did not care because after they hit the raft they just sped up again and laughed for they didn't care much about raftsman too much. This shows how people look down on others who are not as high and mighty as they are. The people on the steamboat are higher of a class than the raftsmen and could care less what happened to them.
Mark Twain portrays his disbelief of the greatness of our society in his book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By making fun of society through simple examples the readers were able to understand the ideas that Mark Twain wanted to convey. Mark Twain showed how every person in society does something against the law or against their own moral judgment just to better their own position, no matter who they hurt.