Mark Twain and his humor..Explaining the satire Mark Twain used while writing Huckelberry Finn

Essay by SueJrHigh School, 11th grade October 2004

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" 'Humor,' Mark Twain once wrote while in a different mode, 'is only a fragrance, a decoration. If it is really to succeed in survival, it must surreptitiously teach and preach.' "(qtd. Howells 211). Mark Twain exposes the evil in society by satirizing the institutions of religion, education and slavery. One of Twains many techniques in writing involve his way of making a point without one knowing whether or not he is kidding. He satirizes religion throughout the novel using Huck who does not see the point of the whole thing. The same goes for education, showing that the most learned of characters aren't always necessarily the smartest ones. Then, there is the constant relevance of slavery, with Twain placing Jim as Huck's companion.

In this novel, the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, whom Huck lives with, are always trying to teach Huck the importance of religion. Huck wasn't raised with religion so he doesn't understand its relevance or why it is so important to them; he does however humor the women and would attempt praying.

"She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get. But it warn't so. I tried it. Once I got a fish line, but no hooks. It warn't no good to me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times. But somehow I couldn't make it work...." (Twain 19) As far as Huck can see, not everyone's prayers get answered so he sees no reason for it. Then, there's the Grangerfords and Sheperdsons. This pair of feuding families cant even recall why they started killing each other in the first place, nor do they know who started it, still go peacefully to church.

Next Sunday we all went to church.... The men took their guns, so...