Satire in Huckleberry Finn

Topics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Slavery, Tom Sawyer Pages: 5 (1809 words) Published: January 18, 2011
Chapters 1-4: Superstition
In chapters 1-4 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain's characters tend to get worked up over the silliest of superstitions. In the second chapter, when Huck accidentally flicks a spider into a flame, he, “Was so scared and most shook the clothes off [him]” (Twain 3). He counters the burden that the dead spider will bring by performing plenty of even more odd acts like turning around while crossing his breast and tying up a lock of his hair to ward off the witches. Huck is still anxious because he hadn't been told that any of those counter charms were good for removing the penance of killing a spider. Most superstitions throughout these chapters stem from one person telling another of an irrational belief they hold as the truth like Jim's “magical” hair-ball that he profits off of by telling people very vague fortunes (Twain 17-18). Some of these fortunes come true, so people tell others about the miraculous magic hair-ball.

Superstition is an issue that has been around forever, and will probably be around forever. A psychologist, B. F. Skinner, discovered that any animal will develop superstitions, we are all just wired that way. For example, if one makes a bad grade on a test Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and it rains Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, one may start to believe that the rain is the reason why they have bad test grades just because of the correlation . Because of this, they may never want to take tests when it rains. Today, superstitions are less abundant because of widespread knowledge of science and reasoning, but it can still be observed in sports and religion where people do things really without a reason or don't really understand why. They just do it because they've always done it. Superstition today does not really harm society but honestly makes it more interesting.

Chapter 5: Greed
In chapter 5, Mark Twain's character, Pap Finn portrays greed in it's purest form, and that is, in a stinky, rotten, hairy, drunkard. Pap Finn never does anything unless it benefits himself. Pap never helped another person out in the entire novel if it meant he had to lift a finger. He only even visits his only son whenever he needs money. When Huck finds Pap in his room right after hearing Jim's fortune about the appearance happening, Pap first orders Huck to stop being smart because it's making him look bad, and then reveals the real reason for his sudden showing up when he demands, “You git me that money tomorrow—I want it” (Twain 20). Pap uses the last bit of his power, his father authority, to exercise his greediness. Twain uses Pap to prove that absolute greediness is illogical. Even though Pap does whatever he can to help himself, because he was not good to others like his son, he receives none of the wealth that Huck has gained which would be given to a decent father.

Greed is strongly prevalent today, especially in our economy. The American capitalistic economy is strongly centered on greed and excess. The highest ranking person in a business is really almost just like Pap, except they are rich and all.. The banks often try to profit quickly from the less fortunate by mortgage scams and placing many in debt and in even worse conditions than they were already in. CEO's and executives on Wall Street find loopholes to help themselves without even considering the lasting effects on the economy. Of course, there is greed and corruption in the government too. I think that this positively reinforced greed has really damaged the country. Greediness is the heart of America, but if it doesn't have boundaries, we may all turn into very lewd Pap Finns.

Chapter 8: Slavery
Twain, in chapter 8, demonstrates how slavery rips apart the moral fabric of a society by exposing the hypocrisy and underlying effects of the issue. Slavery corrodes the slave owner just as much as the slave as evidenced by Miss Watson lying about never sending Jim to New Orleans, but since the...
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