Huckleberry Finn – Controversial Novel
A well-studied piece of American literature was written by Mark Twain and is known as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It is an adventure story, as the title suggests, about a boy who escapes his abusive father and finds himself in the company of a runaway slave as they head down the Mississippi together to find freedom. Along the way, they become equals in their venture and Huck’s belief system that was formed by the society he lives in is shattered. Not only is this book, one of the most controversial novels of all time, but it is true American ideals and flaws. The fact that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the most widely taught books in American literature classrooms across the country speak of its greatness. But what exactly is it about the book that makes it so great?
First, the use of satire throughout the book gives different parts of action irony. Satire is a literary work in which vices, follies, stupidities, abuses, etc. are held up to ridicule and contempt. Twain uses satire through the story to poke fun at the society in which he grew up. Satire is useful because it makes the readers truly think about what Twain has said, and at the same time, the irony of it is based on truth and can be used to force the readers to think about society today. By stepping back, they realize the modern irony that they live by. The examples that Twain used in Huck Finn range from Jim, the runaway slave calling Huck white trash, to the people on the river abandoning Huck when they think “his father” is ill with small pox. But the best use of satire in the book is when the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons go to church:
Next Sunday we all went to church, about three mile, everybody a-horseback. The men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall. The Shepardsons done the same. It was pretty ornery preaching-all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith and good works and free grace and preforeordestination, and I don’t know what at all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet.