Irony In Huck Finn Essay Topic

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn : Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel written by Mark Twain, is an important literary work because of it’s use of satire. It is a story written about a boy, Huck, in search of freedom and adventure. In the beginning of the story you learn what has happened since The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Huck and Tom found a hidden treasure that was later invested for them. Huck was taken in by Mrs. Watson, who attempted to teach him religion and proper manners, but was taken away when his father returned.

Pap, being a drunk and abusive father, imprisons Huck because he wants the money Huck has invested for him. Huck fakes his own death and hides out on Jackson’s Island, where he discovers Jim, Mrs. Watson’s former slave, is also hiding. Jim turns into a father figure and also a friend to Huck. The innocence Huck has leads him to having a true friendship in a time of racial discrimination. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain employs several types of satire including verbal irony, rhetorical questions jargon, and parallelism.

Verbal irony by definition is when someone states one thing and means another; an incongruity between what is said and what is meant. Twain uses verbal irony in his novel when the band of robbers are discussing the meaning of “ransoming. ” Tom says, “Well I don’t know, but perhaps if we keep them till they’re ransomed, it means we keep them until they’re dead. ” (Twain 12) All of the boys in the gang immediately agreed upon this definition with Tom. This is an example of satire because Twain is trying to show that though something may be wrong, if society believes it to be true, then it may conform to the “truth. The verbal irony of this is how Tom is stating what he believes to be ransoming, but not actually knowing what it is to ransom. I believe this shows how ignorant as well as dependent on others out civilization can be. In addition to his use of verbal irony, Twain uses rhetorical questions which are question posed by the writer not to seek an answer but to affirm or deny a point by asking a question.. He incorporates this device in Chapter 3, when Huck says, “If a body can get anything they pray for then why can’t Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on pork?

Why can’t the widow get back her silver snuff box that was stole? ” (Twain 14) Throughout the novel religion is being forced upon Huck. Huck is questioning the validity of their beliefs. I believe this is an example of satire because despite Huck’s disbelief in religion, it is still forced upon him. It is too often, in my opinion, that people think everyone must have the same beliefs. This use of satire may affect the reader by showing them how many civilizations are unwilling to except change and difference. Another example of satire is shown through Jargon.

Jargon is a specialized language concerned with a particular subject, culture, or profession, or language characterized by syntax, vocabulary, or meaning. Jim uses a specialized language because he has no former education. This is shown when Jim says, “I daan’ want to go fool’n ‘longer no wrack. We’s doin’ blame’ well, and we better let blame’ well as long as the good book says. ” (Twain 79) Twain uses this satirical device device of Jargon in this selection to show that Jim speaks the way he does because he has not been given the opportunity to go to school and become properly educated.

Parallelism is defined as a set of similarly structured words, phrases, or clauses. When Huck is explaining how nervous they were when they were nearly caught he says, “we didn’t touch an oar, we didn’t speak no whisper, we hardly even breathe. ” (Twain 85) Twain uses parallelism in this selection by repeating similar phrases in order to show the readers how fearful Jim and Huck were. Satirical devices were used throughout the novel of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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Twain explores and satirizes many problems facing American society such as religion, civilization, and racism to prove a point and to try to change the reader’s opinion about the subject. The author uses of verbal irony, rhetorical questions jargon, and parallelism portray the inconsistencies in our moral consciousness. Because society is constantly pronouncing lies, Twain makes an effort to dramatize the truth, that grotesque people are actually a product of society. He continues to strive towards his dream of brotherhood.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn : Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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“Persons attempting to find a moral in [this narrative] will be banished” (Twain 3). Just as his first lines in the novel, Mark Twain fills The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with his signature style of humor and irony, which makes it one of the most influential works of American literature. This controversial novel relates the story of Huck, a rebellious white boy, and Jim, a black slave. Together they run away in the pursuit of freedom down the Mississippi River. When published, the novel received a lot of criticism for Twain’s implicit moral message; the novel is Twain’s indictment against racism.
Throughout the years, Huck Finn’s message has been misinterpreted as racist. In fact, according to John H. Wallace the narrative is…show more content…

In order to understand Twain’s indictment against racism, one must comprehend the irony in the text. During the course of the narrative, Twain fools the reader by writing the opposite of what he actually means. For example, he made the duke and the King, who naturally would come from a “high place” (Twain 114), be miserable, white con men. Twain’s irony stands when Huck says:
The king he got the bag before I could think more than about a half a thought, and he never suspicioned I was around. They took and shoved the bag through a rip in the straw tick that was under the feather-bed, and crammed it in a foot or two amongst the straw and said it was all right now, because a nigger only makes up the feather-bed, and don’t turn over the straw tick only about twice a year, and so it warn’t in no danger of getting stole now. (Twain 162)
Twain intends to unveil the absurdity of the racial stereotypes by switching the roles of the Duke and King to thieves and the black slave to an honest and trustworthy man. Twain’s use of irony continues in the passage where Aunt Sally asks why Huck arrived late to the farm. Huck tells her that the steamboat blew out a cylinder head; when she learns that the accident only “killed a nigger”; she feels relieved “because sometimes people do get hurt” (Twain 201). The irony in this chapter exposes how a “sentimental, warmhearted woman” (Nichols 213) like Aunt Sally simply cannot care for, or acknowledge as a human being a black slave.

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