Local Color and Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn exemplifies the characteristics of a local color writing in several different ways, through the use of narration, dialect, local customs, and characters. Mark Twain’s use of several different dialects and local customs really helps the reader gain a just perspective on the people, places, and events that took place in the story as wells helps demonstrate the characteristics of a local color writing.

The use of a narrator in Huckleberry Finn, as in most local color writings, usually uses an educated person as the narrator to help give distance between the locals in the story and the more urban audience who the story was intended. However, in this case Mark Twain uses a 14 year old boy, Huckleberry Finn, who is ignorant to the proper ways of the time. On the other hand, with his naïve and innocent nature he accomplishes the same separation as he struggles through his own personal issues, which reflect the issues of the era. For example when Huckleberry says, “Then I thought for a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s’pose you’d a done right and give Jim up, would feel any better than what you do now? No, says I, I’d feel bad – I’d feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong.” In this example Huck is struggling between doing what is morally right and what is socially right during this era, thus showing his moral maturity, which compensates for his lack of education and “proper ways”. It is this moral maturity that separates Huck up on to a higher platform, so to say, that exemplifies the characteristic of local writings.

Just like the use of a narrator, Twain’s extensive use of dialect, also displays the characteristics of local color writings. As stated in the Explanatory by Twain himself there are seven different dialects in the story. Theses dialects help set up the characters in the story while...
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