Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Pre-Civil War novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, is about a young boy named Huck. His mother is dead and his father is an alcoholic. Huck is now being raised by the Widow Douglass, a woman who is attempting to raise Huck to be a successful, educated member of society, despite his many protests. Because of the violence and forced conformity, Huck runs away and unites with a runaway slave named Jim. Instead of turning Jim in, Huck decides to help him break free from slavery. By doing this, he is going against the societal norm and refusing to follow certain rules just because that’s what everyone else is doing. As they run away together, Huck begins to notice and understand the common stereotypes within society. He rebels and goes against society in his attitudes and philosophies. In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain explores why humans follow ridiculous ideas just because they are the societal norms by pointing out the hypocrisy within society’s ideals, incorporating satirical examples about religion, education, and slavery into his novel. While living in the Widow Douglass’ home, Huck had been exposed to and forced to participate in religious practices. He was forced to read the bible and say prayers at meal times. “When you got to the table, you couldn’t go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck her head and grumble over the victuals” (Twain 12). Huck depicts the widow as an over-the-top Christian who is dedicated to her religion, while Twain uses this to satirize religion in general. At this time in history, society views being religious as knowing passages from the bible and saying your prayers. These standards classify Widow Douglass as a good Christian woman with strong val... ... middle of paper ... the point that society doesn’t even recognize them as the human beings they are. Slaves are people with beating hearts and emotions like everyone else, not just property on legs, but societal norms disagree with that. In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain shows how ridiculous it is to follow society’s corrupt beliefs just because everyone else is. Twain uses the protagonist, Huck’s, adventures as he grows and matures to show this corruption. Huck goes against societal norms to do what he feels is right, even if society says it will send him to Hell. To get this message across, Twain uses frequent examples of satire to show the hypocrisy and corruption within society’s ideals. These satirical examples especially emphasize religion, education, and slavery. This coming-of-age story points out the many flaws within society in a humorous, yet truthful manner.

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