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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Essay Example

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Mark Twain’s Use of Satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Introduction From Jonathan Swift to the Jon Stewart satire has long been an important part of Western culture and literature. In the contemporary world television programs such as the Daily Show and the Colbert Report have assumed a place of popularity through their social and political satire…
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

Download file to see previous pages This essay analyzes and explains satirical elements in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Analysis A large aspect of Mark Twain’s satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is through the satirizing of religion. Such types of satire take place in a large variety of ways throughout the book. The first instance occurs during the opening chapter when Widow Douglas reads to Huckleberry Finn from the Bible. Huck states, “After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people” (Twain, p. 3). Here Huck is showing that while he was at first interested in Moses, after discovering that Moses is dead he lost interest. Here Twain is using quiet irony as a means of satirizing religion. For Huck Moses is not appreciated for his religious significance for freeing the Jews from Egypt or receiving the Ten Commandments, but instead is only interested in Moses for the real life adventure story. In a sense this is Twain’s way of demonstrating that he holds no real interest in religion. For Huck the rejection of religion assumes a variety of ways. Huck also rejects having to pray before meals and calls it grumbling. When Huck hears about Hell he responds that he would like to go there, as he doesn’t understand what the point in going to good places is. While Huck’s understanding of religion is presented as ignorance, it’s clear that Twain implements this as a humorous critique of religion. Another prominent example where Twain satirizes religion occurs when Jim and Huck escape and spend time on an island. In large part the island is a dystopian version of the Garden of Eden. Twain is indirectly mocking the nature of such a mystical land, as well as criticizing the nature of slavery, as Jim has to retreat to this island as a means of achieving freedom. One clearly witnesses the religious imagery when the rattlesnake bites Jim. In a sense this is Twain’s way of indicating that the nature of the social situation is ultimately tainted by backward policies and immorality. In addition to Huck’s interactions with Widow Douglas religion is satirized in many ways throughout the book. One such example occurs as Huck talks to Miss Watson. During his discussions with Miss Watson she presents a version of God as mean and angry. This version of God is in direct contrast to Widow Doulgas’ version of God as loving and accepting. This leads Huck to claim that there are two Gods and that he wants to follow Window Douglas’ God. Through such comparisons and irony, Twain is demonstrating the oftentimes nonsense ways of religion. Huck also talks about prayer. He states, “Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks” (Twain, p. 15). Here Twain is satirizing the nature of prayer, as many people pray as they expect God to help them or change something in their lives. Rather than praying for something important, Huck prays for fishing material; this is a way for Twain to use subtlety to mock the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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