In Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Grangerfords and Pap are two of the characters who are used by Twain to condemn civilized society. Twain employs satire to express his belief that “civilized” society is neither moral, ethical, nor civilized. Exaggeration, stereotyping, and irony are used throughout the story to satirize and to expose the Grangerfords as the typical southern aristocrats and pap as the typical drunken “white trash.”
After a ferryboat accident, Huck seems to lose his slave companion Jim after coming ashore. Huck then is introduced to Buck Grangerford (about the same age as Huck) and is allowed to stay in the Grangerford household. The Grangerford family consists of Buck, who is a young adventurous boy, Emmiline, a fourteen-year-old who was dead girl, Bob, Tom, Miss Charlotte, and Miss Sophia. The Grangerfords showed all the signs of being upper class by having an extremely nice house, acting properly, and each member of the family had their own servant. Eventually it becomes apparent to Huck that the Grangerfords are feuding with a neighboring household, the Sheperdsons; this seems to be the central angle Twain uses to satire.
The chapters dealing with the Grangerford and Sheperdson feud allow Twain to satire aspects of civilized culture. The main aspect he satirizes is the feud itself. The Grangerfords being the representatives of civilization, Twain reveals the senseless brutality and needless slaughter involved in their arbitrary concept of honor. For Twain, such a feud goes against his common sense and anything that violated his common sense was crazy. The feud has gone on so long hat the people don’t even know why they are fighting; yet, embedded in the feud are artificial concepts of civilized behavior. For Example, Mr. Grangerford tells Buck that he shouldn’t shoot from behind the bush but he should step out into the road to kill a Sheperdson. Also there is a sense of irony because why would such a civilized family be in a feud that they can’t remember the origin of. Another aspect of it is the Grangeford’s use of hypocrisy. The Grangerfords were “church goers” and in one sermon given by Mr. Grangerford he speaks of brotherly love, this while feuding with a family for a reason they don’t even remember.
Pap, or Huck’s father, is an excellent example of Twain’s stereotyping, superior characterizations, and his irony.