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Satire in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Through satire, authors use humor, or mockery of a view, group, human frailty or foible with the aim of inspiring change in a literary piece. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, author Mark Twain uses satire to criticize the corrupt society in which young Huck Finn struggles against. Twain himself describes the novel as "a book of mine in which a sound heart comes into collision with a deformed conscience - and conscience suffers defeat". Throughout his experiences journeying during the story, Huck's struggle between what society has taught him and his own heart takes a toll on his personal conscience that gradually develops overtime with assistance by Jim, a runaway slave who is a companion to Huck on the journey. Through the use of satire and Jim, Twain proves that Huck's sound heart triumphs over his deformed conscience in his struggle against society.

Conscience is the ability or faculty that distinguishes whether one's actions are right or wrong. One's surroundings contribute to the formation of their conscience. Growing up in the cruel society of the south in a time where racism thrived, Huck Finn, in result of dysfunctional upbringing, bears a deformed conscience. In addition to his racist and cruel surroundings, his distorted sense of morals is also a product of accepting some teachings that have been instilled into him based on his own intelligence. In the very beginning of the novel, Huck describes his feelings toward religion after arguing with Miss Watson when saying, "Then she told me about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there...all I wanted was a change" (2). Through this, it is evident that Huck's lack of understanding religion forms a conception in which he believes that hell is the better place to be. He wishes to free himself from the society which he has been a part of for his whole life, which furthermore reveals his willingness to reject society in following his sound heart later.

A sound heart includes a sensible, healthy conscience. By his rejection of society in many instances throughout the novel and from the result of Jim's guiding light, Huck proves to have a sound heart. Huck, a mere child, is left isolated in a sense from the protection and leadership needed by a guardian in his childhood. Huck nearly has a parental figure to turn to as his father was the town drunk, his mother left, and forced under the 'sivilized' rule of Miss Watson and Widow Douglass. Conditions such as these explain the reasons why Huck rejects the society that has rejected him in a sense and further capable of possessing individual feelings, a sound heart. When escaping from his brutal father in the beginning of the novel, a sound heart is shown in Huck. Leaving behind his father and extravagant treasure of money, Huck's decision to begin a quest for freedom along the Mississippi not only shows that he is ready to leave behind Pap in order to be safe but also shows that he sees further beyond the values of the crooked society in which false morals lie in preparation of life on the river in his getaway from society. However, throughout the story, an internal conflict lies within Huck; his sound heart struggles against his deformed conscience as society's evils continue to torment his thoughts and make him question all he has ever learned.

Twain described his novel as a piece where a sound heart comes into collision with a deformed conscience. Throughout Huck's journey along the Mississippi River, Twain incorporates the use of satire to intensify criticism toward the society in which Huck is struggling against. Twain also uses the character of Jim in proving that Huck has a sound heart. Twain's use of satire and Jim throughout Huck's journey along the river curbs his deformed conscience in a way that allows his sound heart to ultimately triumph.

Twain uses satire throughout Huck's experiences on land to criticize the corrupt society of the 1840's and further show how his deformed



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