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Humor Is The Cure For Ignorance

1702 words - 7 pages

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a bildungsroman, a novel that traces the intellectual, moral, and psychological growth of a young protagonist. The novel is largely motivated by two conflicts: the external conflict to bring Jim to freedom, and the internal conflict within Huck between his own sense of right and wrong and society's definition of right and wrong. Huck has a series of "adventures," making many observations on human nature and the South as he does. He progressively rejects the values of the dominant society and matures morally as he does. Huck's increasing maturity is seen in his thoughts and actions as he interacts with feuding neighbors, con men, and the hypocritical emotions of a religious revival and funeral. Mark Twain uses Huckleberry Finn as narrator to provide a practical, naive view of society, which allows satirical comment on the traditions and assumptions of society. Satire is a particularly effective tool as it does not accuse or vilify but merely implies the faults with irony, exaggeration, and sarcasm. As the reader is entertained and laughs at others, the reader also is challenged to think if this laughing is also directed at him. By using an innocent boy, Huck, as the narrator, Twain is able to portray the stupidity and faulty reasoning of society. Twain demonstrates these flaws throughout the novel by developing Huck’s maturity and satirizing the decisions of society.
One of Twain’s main purposes in writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is to satirize the stupidity of human nature. He uses Huck, an innocent boy, to point out how humans, by nature, will follow anything and everything someone in power tells them. Through the Shepherdson and Grangerford feud, Twain is able to satirize humanity and point how they have no hope to improve their future life choices because they took a feud too far and ended up killing everyone they cared about. They prove that sometimes people have to admit they were wrong or accept defeat in order to move on and have a successful life. Like the Shepherdson’s and Grangerford’s many people will start fights and hold grudges simply because someone once told them that was the right thing to do. A society that can't think for itself will never have a successful future.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn starts off as an immature boy who wants to run around and play all the time. He “played robber” with Tom and his band of friends for a while but quickly abandons the game because he is more intrigued with reality (14). Huck is already showing more maturity in quitting a game than many of the other boys his age. He also demonstrates his immaturity because the only reason he decides to go to school is to “spite pap” instead of going to learn (25). Although it is immature of him to try to annoy his father, it is also mature of him to go to school despite the consequences he may face. As the book continues, Huck begins to mature, as he has to learn to live on his own. He...

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