Irony in Huck Finn

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4 August 2012
The Humorous Irony of Huckleberry Finn
In literature often time in order to enhance a writing style or spice up a plot line authors will use literary devices. Literary devices such as irony, alliteration, foreshadowing, allusion, personification and more, each give a piece of literature a unique flare. An author that takes full advantage of literary devices and understands their value is Mark Twain. Twain’s novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of Huck Finn a young out of place boy, who sets out on the adventure of a life time with a runaway slave Jim. Along there adventure the two encounter many obstacles and use their wits to maneuver out of trouble some situations, all the while Twain slips in irony in many ways. Twain’s use of irony throughout the novel engages the reader by adding touches of humor and playing on the readers emotions.

Twain wastes no time and jumps right into his use of irony. He adds a touch right in the first few chapters when the main character Huck says “living in a house and sleeping in a bed pulled on me tightly… I used to slide out and sleep in the woods sometimes, and so that was rest to me (27)” this quote shows Twain using irony to be humorous. Having a roof over your head and sleeping in a bed commonly symbolizes comfort. Resting is often is associated with a bed, it’s ironic that the only way Huck can find rest is outside in the woods. Traditionally it’s customary for a person to be restless if left out in the elements. By adding this touch of irony twain adds humorous tone keeping the novel light hearted.

Twain uses irony at points in the story that aren’t so humorous. On page 48 Huck thinks to himself as he’s eating the soggy bread that he plucked out of the river “I reckon the Widow or the Parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me, and here it has gone and done it.” This quote is ironic because the bread was placed into the river in hopes of finding Huck’s dead body not in the...
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