Satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Many authors use satire to discuss issues in society that they have opinions on. These authors express their opinions by mocking the issues in a subtle way in their writing. Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain satirizes many societal elements. Three of these issues include the institution of slavery, organized religion, and education.
By satirizing slavery and the prejudice placed against blacks in Huck's society, Twain takes a stance against these institutions. There are many situations throughout the novel that mock slavery in different ways. Miss Watson's telling Huck to "pray every day," (10) yet she owned a slave "named Jim" (4). Miss Watson is portrayed as a good, Christian woman with high morals, yet she owns a slave. Twain uses this hypocrisy to show that many Southern people were going against their own ideas of Christianity, by owning slaves. The prejudice against black people is further mocked by the introduction of Huck's racist and alcoholic father. Pap becomes so outraged when he finds out that a free slave can "vote when he was at home," even though the free slave is smarter than him and a "p'fessor in a college," that he asks what the country is "a-coming to" (27). Pap does not care that the black man is more intelligent than him, he only sees that he is black, and he does not agree with the fact that the man is allowed to vote. Pap's outrage further emphasizes Twain's satirizing of the prejudice placed against black people during that time period. Twain's mocking of the southern pro-slavery whites reflects his own anti-slavery opinions.
Twain's own ideas are represented through his satirizing the church and organized religion. Miss Watson, Huck's guardian, was a devoted Christian, and she tried to teach him the ways of Christianity. Miss Watson told Huck to "pray every day" (10) and he tied to pray for fishing "hooks three or four times," (11) but he never gets them, so he...
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