The Flaws of Society Satirized by Mark Twain in Huck Finn

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Racism, errors in religious teachings , superstition and values an issue? Mark Twain satirizes all of these flaws in the American society past and present in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Mark Twain satirizes the errors in religion and the willingness of people to blindly believe anything they are told pertaining to religion no matter how bizarre. A prime example of this unprecedented blind faith is at a camp meeting , the “king” dupes the entire crowd with a story so obviously fake. He explains his dire straights and requests their financial aid so he will be able to return to the Indian Ocean to teach the pirates about Christ so their souls won’t be lost. During this event he receives eighty-seven dollars and seventy-five cents. When Huck was living with the widow religion was pressed on him and he logically disproved it. If God will not answer his prayer for fish hooks then what’s the sense of all those other people praying all the time? Is religion really just a matter of believing what you are taught without question?

A second major flaw in American society Mark Twain chooses to satirize is prejudice and racism. The inner conflict Huckleberry feels is immense as he is torn by what he knows to be right and what is deeply ingrained on him by childhood teachings. He has the opportunity to turn in his friend who is a run away slave named Jim. When this choice is presented to him he determines to turn Jim in but just before he does he realizes Jim is a human being too. Later on, when Jim is talking about getting north and then working to buy his wife and children back he says he will get an abolitionist to steal them for him if their “owners” will not sell them. This comment throws Huck conscience into turmoil once again as he knows a low down abolitionist to steal from an innocent man is a very bad thing. Huck is the telling of the thoughts of Mark Twain using him as an outlet for his opinions and ideas.

One thing Mark Twain satirizes in his novel is superstition. Throughout the entire book Mark Twain gives examples of superstitions overwhelming influence on the American continent. Huck picked up a snakeskin and Jim told him it was bad luck…well a week alter nothing had happened when Huck came across a dead snake and decided it would be a good joke to put it on Jim’s bed . Knowing it would attract its mate he did not think of it until after Jim is bitten by its mate. Jim calls it the bad luck from the snakeskin when Huck knows well enough it wasn’t anything to do with it yet Huck believes Jim despite his knowledge. A second example of the influence of superstition on the minds of the American society at the time is of a man who looked at the new moon over his left shoulder. He later bragged about it, but two years later he was taught his lesson being hit by a falling tree and died. Coincidence? Of course not it was the bad luck of the new moon or was it just a self fulfilling prophesy?

The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is based on the views of its author Mark Twain on the flaws in American society.


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