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Satire in Huck Finn

By | October 1999
Page 1 of 2
In Mark Twains novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Grangerfords and Pap are the two characters who are used by Twain to condemn the civilized society. Twain tries to express his feeling that civilized society isn’t always the prettier thing. Twain uses the technique of satirizing civilized society. Examples of ways he uses satirizing throughout the story are though exaggeration, stereotyping, and irony. Twain’s use of satire exposes 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 that 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 two 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 manslaughter 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 to Twain. 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...

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