The Exposure of Southern Life in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Satire: The Exposure of Southern Life
Mark Twain wrote the renowned nineteenth century novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a humorist, with intentions solely entertain the reader. Although the author warns at the start of the book, “persons attempting to find a moral in this narrative will be banished”, he submerses the reader into Southern society to evaluate their values (Notice). Satirists seek to find motives behind people’s actions and by dramatizing the contrast between appearance and reality; they strive to aware readers of the unpleasant truths within society. With both satire and irony, Twain exposes the selfish qualities of Southern society and their unreligious morals through his realist perspective. Twain is able to expose the selfishness in Southern society during the nineteenth century using several examples of satire and irony. During Huck’s journey along the Mississippi River, he comes across two lying and scheming “rapscallions” (153). The most infamous occurrence with the Duke and the King is when they scam the mourning Wilks family for Peter’s fortune. The mere thirst for money is enough to drive the scam artists to commit a heartless and guiltless act, one that takes advantage of the helpless and grieving. It was one that, according to Huck, was “enough to make a body ashamed of the human race” (162). Through pathos and satire in the Wilks scam, Twain displays the selfishness and greediness of Southern society as a whole. Twain, a realist and a humorist, also demonstrates human selfishness when Huck asks several men to help his family on the raft. When Huck mentions that his father is sick, they say, “we are right down sorry for you,” but they are more concerned with their well-being (90). Ironically, Huck had known that the men would refuse to step foot on the raft, causing them to offer money instead. Huck, a young childish boy, is able to analyze and use the immoral qualities of man to his advantage. With the irony in...
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