Grangerford And Shepherdsons Satire Essay

Is Huck Finn an Effective Piece of Satire

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Sam Embree Block 3 “Is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn an effective piece of satire? ” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain follows the story of a young white boy, Huckleberry Finn, as he travels down the Mississippi River. Twain uses the experiences of Huck as he travels down the river to comment on society. His opinions of many topics are given by satirizing other characters or events. An element this satire that twain uses is the depiction of the characters in a humorous manner.

Throughout the novel the use of this satire is clear and express Twain’s opinions on American culture in the antebellum period. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an effective piece of satire on American culture during the 1800s. Twain satirizes feuding, Pseudo-intellectualism and Greed in his story. During one of the adventures of Huck, he learns what a feud is, Twain uses this experience to ridicule the idea of a feud. He chooses two families’, the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, to depict this feud. The Grangerfords seem to be very high class by having an elegant house and servants for all the family members.

Huck observes, “It didn’t have an iron latch on the front door, nor a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a brass knob to turn, the same as houses in town…There was a big fireplace that was bricked on the bottom, and the bricks was kept clean and red … same as they do in town. ” It is clear that the Grangerfords have a very nice house that is comparable to those in town. However, as the story progresses it is revealed they have an ongoing feud, which involves senseless deaths and manslaughter in their concept of honor.

The feud the Grangefords have with the Sheperdsons has gone on so long that they don’t even know why it started. Their story suggests such a feud is crazy and against common sense. Buck Grangerford defines a feud as when “A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in — and by and by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time. ” The feud between the families has no oint besides their honor, and will not end until one family wipes out the other to regain their honor. In another instance Twain satirize feuding at the church. As Mr. Grangerford preaches a sermon, Huck observes, “It was pretty ornery preaching—all about brotherly love”. The fact that the sermon he makes is about brotherly love is very ironic because even though he preaches about brotherly love he’s still apart of a feud that has no point to it. Huck, as the naive narrator makes an observation that highlights the satire of feuding

Another aspect of America that is mocked in the novel is pseudo-intellectualism. A pseudo-intellectual is a person of average intelligence who knows some parts of a higher education and uses this knowledge to impress others. Twain uses the Duke and the Dauphin to exaggerate how some people try to show off their intelligence to others, but in reality they themselves aren’t that smart. Twain also expects that the readers of his novel are well read enough themselves, or they would not understand some of this satire. For example, at one point the Dauphin attempts to recite the soliloquy of Hamlet.

However, The Dauphin himself does not know the soliloquy very well and includes phrases from other Shakespearean plays. His soliloquy begins “To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin That makes calamity of so long life… There’s the respect must give us pause: Wake Duncan with thy knocking! ” This entire soliloquy mocks those who try to show off their intelligence. Twain also satirizes the respect pseudo-intellectuals get from those of lower education by the reactions of awe by Huck and Jim. In another instance the Dauphin speaks to a crowd about a funeral service.

However, while trying to sound intelligent instead of saying obsequies he says, “…he respected everybody, he liked everybody, and so it’s fitten that his funeral orgies sh’d be public. ” Twain includes this piece of humor to satirize pseudo-intellectuals. As Huck observes the actions of the Duke and the Dauphin he calls attention to the satire of pseudo-intellectuals. Finally, Mark Twain satirizes the greed of people in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The actions of Pap suggest greed is stronger than morals and ethics in some men. This is clear when Pap, a man who deserted his son, omes back to Huck and says, “I’ve been in town two days, and I hain’t heard nothing but about you bein’ rich. I heard about it away down the river, too. That’s why I come. You git me that money-tomorrow-I want it,” It is clear that after he got the money Pap would just spend it on alcohol as he usually did. Pap shows that greed drives people to do whatever they can to get money. Twain doesn’t just apply the trait of greed to Pap, but also to the Duke and the Dauphin. These conmen go to great lengths to deceive others to obtain money. In one of their schemes they assume the identities of a recently deceased man.

Driven by their greed they plan to sell all the man’s property and run away. The Dauphin says, “What! And not sell out the rest o’ the property? March off like a passel of fools and leave eight or nine thous’n’ dollars’ worth o’ property layin’ around jest sufferin’ to be scooped in? ” This scene reveals that the conmen have no respect for others and only have themselves in mind. Through the eyes of Huck, Twain tries to show that greed is an immoral aspect present in America during the 19th century and that those who are greedy take advantage of the innocent.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain effectively ridicules aspects of American society of the late 19th century and human nature. In his novel Twain satirizes feuding, pseudo-intellectuals, and greed. Twain shows he has much distaste in each of these aspects by ridiculing them through the eyes of the naive narrator that is Huckleberry Finn. He shows that feuds are against common sense, pseudo-intellectuals do not deserve the respect they receive, and greed causes people to hurt the innocent.

Is Huck Finn an Effective Piece of Satire

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Satire of The Grangerfords and Pap

In Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Grangerfords and Pap are two of the characters who are used by Twain to condemn civilized society. Twain employs satire to express his belief that “civilized” society is neither moral, ethical, nor civilized.  Exaggeration, stereotyping, and irony are used throughout the story to satirize and to expose 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 who 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 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 slaughter 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. 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 behind the bush but he should step out into the road to kill a Sheperdson. Also there is a sense of irony because why would such a civilized family be in a feud that they can’t remember the origin of. Another aspect of it is the Grangeford’s use of hypocrisy. The Grangerfords were “church goers” and in one sermon given by Mr. Grangerford he speaks of brotherly love, this while feuding with a family for a reason they don’t even remember.

            Pap, or Huck’s father, is an excellent example of Twain’s stereotyping, superior characterizations, and his irony.

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Pap comes into the story when Huck feels that something is wrong but it is confirmed by Jim’s hairball. Twain stereotypes Pap as the typical drunken and abusive “white trash.” Pap wants Huck to stop trying to get a better education, stop getting better clothes, and to stop trying to be better than his father. The irony is that Pap is supposed to be mature and civilized, yet he does not want Huck to better himself.  Pap represents the brutality and severity of civilization, which threatens to destroy Huck. Pap eventually kidnaps his own son forcing Huck to create an elaborate escape plan which included faking his own demise. Ironically, the same civilized folk who are not overly concerned over Huck’s suffering at the hands of Pap are very curious and excited about locating his dead body.

            Twain effectively utilized satire to condemn the pre civil-war society of the south. Twain used techniques of hypocrisy, irony, exaggeration, and stereotyping to further his satirization and provided clear examples of it as well. The Gangerfords and Pap were portrayed as some of the worst society had to offer and provided part of the motivation for Huck to seek asylum on the river.

1.      Underline titles of novels.

2.      Your second paragraph is a plot summary and is not needed in your paper.  Instead of writing a plot summary, try using direct quotes.  Quotes give specific examples for your argument while at the same time they are short and to-the-point.  Plot summaries often include information that is not important for the content of your paper.

3.      For better organization stick to the format of your thesis statement. Exaggeration, stereotyping, and irony are used throughout the story to satirize and to expose the Grangerfords as the typical southern aristocrats and pap as the typical drunken “white trash.”  From your thesis statement, your readers would expect to see one paragraph for the Grangerfords and then one paragraph for pap.  Each paragraph would discuss exaggeration, stereotyping, and irony, in that order.  That way you have exhausted your topic thoroughly and in an organized manner.

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