Hypocrites In Huckleberry Finn Essay

919 words - 4 pages

In the novel The adventures of huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses his knowledge of the Mississippi River to write about the ways of life in the Southern Mississippi area before the civil war. In chapters 17-22 of the novel Mark Twain exposes the Hypocrisy of Southern society through false notions of aristocracy, Pious support of religion, and pretend knowledge of academics. He presents these aspects of Southern society through the feuds between The Shepredsons and Grangerfords as well as between Boggs and Sherburn.The first of these two conflicts presented is that of the Sheperdsons and Grangerfords.Huckleberry is taken into the home of the Grangerfords where he sees much of the hypocrisy of Southern society firsthand, especially through false notions of aristocracy. Huck observes that "[He] hadn't seen no house out in the country before that had so much style."(97) The Grangerfords house, is seen as a grand house to those inside. This fancy house makes a visitor think of the sophisticated homes in town, however they are still back country people who only view their home as having style for the things inside. In the parlor of this house "there [are] beautiful curtains on the windows, white with pictures painted of castles."(101) The curtains painted with castles give the family a false feeling of being elite. When you think of castles you think of queens and kings and aristocracy. Ironically they think of others who lack the few finer things like curtains with castles on them to be lower class then themselves. These minor details make them think they are above everyone else. Along with this false notion of aristocracy the Grangerfords also possess a false knowledge of academics. When Huck asks one of the Grangerford sons to spell his name, The 13 yeah old son spells huck's false name "G-e-o-r-g-e J-a-x-o-n."(96) He misspells Jackson. The proper spelling is with c-k-s not an x. Earlier the young Grangerford mentioned the he went to school, it is apparent however that he is not as knowledgeable as he thought. The family with their many books and things, think that they are upperclass and very knowledgeable when in fact their son can not spell correctly. As with most typical southern families, the Sheperdsons and Grangerfords are very religious. On sundays both families attend church. When Huck went with Grangerfords he noticed that in both the feuding families,"the men [take] their guns along,"(106) to church. These families are mortal enemies and do not want to risk not taking their guns with them at all times in case they needed to use them against each other. Being hypocritical, after church the families talked about how the sermon "all about brotherly love,"(106)...

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