Huckleberry Finn - Satire

Essay by milrocHigh School, 11th grade April 2004

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Throughout his novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain uses satire to emphasize what he finds especially erroneous in the world. His favorite human failures include so-called morality and individualism as he satirizes them often throughout the course of Jim and Huck's journey.

One case appears at the very beginning of the story - when the new judge awards Pap full custody of Huck. Twain is poking fun at the judge's naivety at this point because first of all, the judge believes he can change Pap and secondly because he gives up so easily - after only a day - and calls Pap a lost cause. It is obvious to everyone that in order for Huck to conform into how they want him, he needs to be civilized. He needs food, clothing, a home, an education - a steady life - and there is no way Pap is capable of providing this.

The judge actually thinks that in a few short hours he can change Pap into father of the year and when he realizes he cannot, he gives up.

Much later on in the novel Twain uses satire to address the issues of cowardice and conformity. When Huck and Jim stop in a small town in Arkansas, Huck witnesses a man named Sherburn shot and kill a drunk named Bogg's who was insulting him. No one is really sure what to do - until one person yells "Lynch him!" Once the mob arrives at Sherburn's house, they find him on his roof, holding a rifle; there Sherburn delivers one of the most compelling monologues of the entire novel. Claiming that not a one of them has the guts to lynch him, he calls them all cowards - cowards without minds of their own. It only took...