J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “Not all those who wander are lost.” This quote illustrates that if people make their own decisions they will be able to find a path that suits their desires, not those of others. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck struggles throughout his adventures to find equilibrium between what he wants to do and what society wants him to do. Consequently, Huck tries to battle the inner conflicts that he has and not conform to society’s “accepted” values. Mark Twain identifies these struggles by using different stylistic elements throughout the three sections of the novel, showing the development of Huck as the novel progresses.
First, in the beginning of the novel Huck starts to realize that society is not always right. In this section, Twain uses sarcasm and mockery in order to show how people will believe something just because a “qualified” person says so. This is shown when Tom Sawyer and Huck say:
“Why, blame it all, we’ve got to do it. Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books, and get things all muddled up?”
“Oh, that’s all very fine to say, Tom Sawyer, but how in the nation are these fellows going to be ransomed if we don’t know how to do it to them? – that’s the thing I want to get at. Now, what so you reckon it is?” (9)
This quote criticizes how society accepts values because they read or heard it somewhere. Here, Tom acts as if he knows what he is doing, and he is instructing all the other kids to do what he says because “that’s what the books say.” Twain uses sarcasm and mockery in order to tell his audience not to conform to society just because it is easier to do so or because society will not approve if they go their own way. This conveys the message to the audience in a humorous way because it is funny to see how naïve Tom is. When people read enjoyable articles or books, they have a more open mind to whatever message the author is trying to convey. Furthermore, when Huck questions Tom’s reasoning about the situation, it shows the first time in the novel that someone is going against the ways of society. When Twain uses sarcasm and mockery, and then displays Huck’s conflicting viewpoint, it more clearly identifies, to the reader, the flaw Twain is trying to address, that society accepts values just because they read or hear about something. Ultimately, in this section Twain uses sarcasm and mockery to begin to show the flaws of society. Also, this section shows how Huck is just starting to learn that society is not always right.
Second, Twain furthers Huck’s development when he shows how Huck questions the pettiness of the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdson’s. Twain uses syntax and mockery to clearly identify the flaws of the feud to show how society can begin to quarrel or make small issues escalate into larger ones. This is shown when Huck and Buck are talking, “ “What’s a feud?”
“Why, where were...