In the Style of Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is said to be “the source from which all great American literature has stemmed” (Smith127). This is in part attributed to Mark Twain’s ability to use humor andsatire, as well as incorporating serious subject matter into his work.
Throughout the novel Twain takes on the serious issue of Huck’s moral dilemma.
One such issue which is particularly important in the novel is pointed out bySmith: He swears and smokes, but he has a set of ethics all his own.
He believesthat slaves belong to their rightful owners, yet in his honest gratitude towardhis friend Jim, he helps him to escape the bonds of slavery. (181) This issomething that tears at Huck throughout the novel and helps Twain show howcomplex Huck’s character really is. “The recognition of complexity inHuck’s character enabled Twain to do full justice to the conflict of vernacularvalues and the dominant culture” (Smith 125). Throughout Huck and Jim’sadventures Huck is constantly playing practical jokes on Jim who seems to takethem all in stride.
But unknown to the reader Twain uses this aspect as anothernotch in Huck’s moral 2 growth. Critic Frank McGill points this out: Huck’shumble apology for the prank he plays on Jim in the fog is striking evidence ofgrowth in Huck’s moral insight. It leads naturally to the next chapter in whichTwain causes Huck to face up for the first time to the fact he is helping aslave escape.(119) Another serious issue addressed by Twain is the abuse thatwas given to Huck by his father. Huck was kidnaped from the Widow Douglas by hisfather who had heard of his inheritance. Huck’s father then took him to a cabinfar away in the woods where he kept the boy a prisoner, beating him and halfstarving him. Twain tells us how Huck felt about life with his father: Beforelong Huck began to wonder why he had even liked living with the widow. With hisfather he could smoke and swear all he wanted, and his life would have beenquiet pleasant if it had not been for all of the constant beatings. (156) Huckwould soon after grow tired of the beatings and fakes his death to escape thecabin. The humorous side of Twain is probably what he is most well known for.
Humor is considered an art form by many writers. Jane Bernadette states thedifference between humor and comical stories: The humorous story is strictly awork of art high and delicate and only an Curran 3 artist can tell it; but noart is necessary in telling the comic and the witty story; anybody can do it.
The art of telling a humorous story-understand, I mean by word of mouth, notprint-was created in America and has remained at home. (159) Twain satirizes thesouth for its seriousness on certain matters. “I think one of the mostnotably southern traits of Mark Twain’s humor is its power of seeing the fun ofsouthern seriousness”(Bernadette 175). Twain also satirizes the society ofthe day’ by describing the colonel Grangerford as “the symbol ofsouthern aristocracy”(245). Twain also goes on to satirize the south’sracism. One such instance is pointed out in the novel when Aunt Polly hears of asteamboat explosion. ” Good gracious is anyone hurt?” “No”,”it just killed a negro” (209). Religious satire is another aspectthat Twain uses. An easy illustration of this is the Widow’s attempt to teachHuck religious principles while she persists on keeping slaves. “Huck’sprinciples of morality make him more Christian’ than the Widow even though hetakes no interest in her lifeless principles”(Bernadette 288). Twain’shumor has been mistaken by some to be racist or politically incorrect. “Thehumor of Mark Twain contains a sense of the incongruous which frontiersmen feltin a region where civilization and uncultivated nature come face to face”(McGill 95). In conclusion I think that the style and structure of Mark Twain’swork not only exemplifies him as a humorist but as a serious writer as well ; awriter who cannot be Curran 4 categorized by any one aspect of his writing.
“To remember him only as a creator of boyhood adventure or as a relic of anAmerican frontier or the voice of idiosyncracy is to do him disservice”(McGill 211).
BibliographyBernadette, Jane. American Realism . Toronto: Educational ResourcesCorporation, 1972. McGill, Frank. American Writers. Montana: University ofMontana, 1974. Smith, Henry. Mark Twain: Development of a Writer. London: OxfordPress, 1962 Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: PenguinPress, 1996
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Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Twain. (2018, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/adventures-of-huckleberry-finn-by-twain/