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Racial, Religious And Societal Hypocrisies In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

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Towards the end of the 19th century, Samuel Clemens, more commonly known as Mark Twain, exemplified the use of satire to criticize society in his classic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Due to his experience with viewing slavery and racism in the 1850s, Twain was able convey his vexation through characters in a satirized way. In doing so, Mark Twain highlighted critical issues, one of them being his ideas on hypocrisy. Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, readers witness not only racial, but also religious and societal hypocrisies that Twain tries to accentuate in humanity.

// Racism is a huge part of this novel, and embedded with it is hypocrisy. An example of this is when Duke expresses his negative ideas towards blacks, with the notion that all black individuals are thieves. However, Duke himself is a thief. During a scene, the Duke questioned everyone if they “reckon a n—– can run across money and not borrow some of it?”( ch 26). The Duke assumed that a black man must have stolen the money. Even though he himself is a thief, he hypocritically assumed that all black individuals are corrupt thieves that want nothing more than to ‘sin’. Stating that all black individuals are corrupt so they will steal is hypocritical since during this period white landowners would steal slaves from their homes and take them away from their families. //

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Though religion focuses on peace, harmony, and love between individuals, we witness the total opposite of those ideas when we are introduced to the Grangerford and the Shepherd families. During Huck’s separation from Jim, he accidentally meets the Grangerfords. Huck then becomes very close with them and learns about the feud between the two families. Huck then decides to go to church with both of them. In church, they would share and express their adoration for one another, and stress the idea of forgiveness. Yet, “everyone took their guns along, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall’ (109). Instead of making peace and “loving thy neighbor”(103), they shout and express their hatred towards each other without reason. This then resulted in murder, war, and sorrow over their losses. Though taught forgiveness, love, and peace in the church, they express their alarming hatred due to an unknown cause. They believe they are ‘good christians’ yet their behavior proves otherwise. Twain wants to emphasize this societal flaw. During the 1950s, white southern individuals believed that they were considered ‘good christians’, yet they supported the idea of slavery. They chose to believe they are superior due to the color of their skin. Instead of listening to God’s word of equality, they chose their own superiority.

Societal hypocrisy, is a core issue that Mark Twain addresses with the idea of being “sivilized”(ch 1). In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain insinuates that no matter how civil a society identifies themselves as, it is irrational for a society that owns slaves to be equitable. Throughout the novel, Huck is introduced to characters that are perceived as ‘good’ or ‘civil’, but Twain shows that these individuals are prejudiced slave-owners, which fully contradicts the ideas of what good means. This undefined sense of morals and ethics that Huck repeatedly encounters highlights the idea of hypocrisy in society. Twain’s addresses societal ideas of civility that are shifted towards society norms and ideas.

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Racial, Religious And Societal Hypocrisies In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/racial-religious-and-societal-hypocrisies-in-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/
“Racial, Religious And Societal Hypocrisies In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/racial-religious-and-societal-hypocrisies-in-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/
Racial, Religious And Societal Hypocrisies In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/racial-religious-and-societal-hypocrisies-in-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/> [Accessed 7 Oct. 2022].
Racial, Religious And Societal Hypocrisies In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2022 Oct 7]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/racial-religious-and-societal-hypocrisies-in-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/
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