Realism in Huckleberry Finn

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Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a literary masterpiece of the 19th century that follows the adventures of young Huckleberry Finn in pre-Civil War America. Twain utilizes symbolism and dramatic irony throughout the work, which raises the depth of the story considerably. These techniques paired with colorful characters and various Realist and Regionalist elements make for a deep and meaningful story.

To fully appreciate Huckleberry Finn, one must become acquainted with its esteemed author, Mark Twain (1835-1910). Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Twain was the sixth of seven children born in his family, and one of only four that lived past childhood (Encyclopedia Britannica). Twain experienced health problems for the first ten years of his life, due to premature birth. Twain was coddled as a result, which in turn led to misbehavior due to his lack of discipline. This element of Twain’s life will later find its way into Huckleberry Finn, as Huckleberry also has a knack for mischief. Though born in Tennessee, Twain moved to Hannibal, Missouri at age four and spent most of his childhood there (Encyclopedia Britannica). Hannibal was significant in many ways, one of which being the fact that it served as the inspiration for Huckleberry Finn’s fictional locale of St. Petersburg, continuing the trend of childhood influence in the novel. Missouri was also a slave state, explaining Twain’s exploration of the institution of slavery in his writing. Twain’s father died when Twain was just 11, which led to his entry into the printing business in order to support the family. This was Twain’s first exposure to writing, as he would occasionally submit articles to the paper for which he was typing. He proved to love writing, as his work evolved from light verse to chronicles of boyhood adventures (Byrne).

Twain’s writing is best described as colloquial speech paired with humor and social criticism. His writing spanned the movements of both Realism and Regionalism. Unique to his...
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