Throughout Mark Twain'sThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there is a constant underlying satirical tone which demonstrates the cruelty of society towards the everyday citizens who just try to get by in life. As see through the Boggs incident, the circus, and the Royal Nonesuch, Mark Twain makes a clear statement that human society is unkind and inconsiderate.
In adding the otherwise superfluous incident of Boggs and Sherburn, Mark Twain clearly illustrates the cruelty of society. Boggs, the town drunk, states that he will "chaw up" Sherburn, and later on threatens and demeans Sherburn with all the nasty words he can think of. Sherburn warns Boggs to leave before one o'clock or he would hunt him down, giving Boggs a completely fair warning. However, the antagonist Boggs doesn't leave and is soon shot and killed. Ironically, the town, witnessing the murder, now intriguingly praises Boggs and now makes Sherburn the antagonist, solely because he was trying to protect himself.
The crowd threatens to lynch Sherburn, even though he didn't do anything wrong. He only killed Boggs out of self-protection. The town, thus, can be seen as cruel and shrewd, for they jeer and demean anyone whom they seem fit. By first antagonizing Boggs for being drunk, and then attacking Sherburn for protecting himself, Mark Twain exemplifies the cruelty of a society who seeks to oppress anyone possible.
Just as society is portrayed as oppressive through the Boggs incident, it is also satirized through the circus which Huck attended. For example, the townsmen at the circus had no sympathy or care toward the supposedly drunk performer. "The minute he was on, the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and cavort around...the drunk man hanging onto his neck, and his
heels flying in the air every jump, and the...