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Discussthe Role and Importance of Laughter and Comedy in The Adventures ofHuckleberry Finn

MarkTwain was born in the year 1835 and has written numerous books duringhis lifetime. In his novel the ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’he has successfully exploited his humor, satire and realism. Thisbook includes deep humor, satire and cynicism on the society. In hisbook, the adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain exemplifies hishumor throughout the various situations and his characters. One ofthe main reasons that Mark Twain uses humor is to make the storyinteresting and therefore making the reader interested to continuereading throughout the novel (Clemenspar).Throughout this great American novel, Mark Twain introduces humor invarious episodes. One of the very first episodes where there ispresence of humor is when Finn tells Jim of stories of the kings. Jimis undoubtedly astonished by Finn. One of the funny parts in Huckstory is when he tells Jim of King Solomon (Twainp 2).

Huckdoes not think that King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived.According to him, King Solomon was not wise for wanting to chop ababy by half. Another humorous part is when Mark Twain introduces theGrangerfords and the Sheperdsons (Clemenspar). These were the two biggest families in the town and it happened thatthey had a feud. Huck happened to notice that the two families had afeud and this makes him to as Buck about it. In his reply, Buck saysthat the feud happened after one man killed the other, a brother tothe dead man went for the killer sand killed him and then thebrothers in both sides went for each other and killed them and thenthe cousins joined and killed each other and soon they all died andthus the feud ended.

Anotheryet interesting part of the story is when the author talks of anepisode on Phelps plantation. In this particular episode, Huck learnsthat the king had sold Jim to the Phelps family. The Phelps happenedto be relatives of Tom Sawyer. The Phelps mistakenly takes Huck to beTom Sawyer. Huck meets Aunt Sally and kisses her in the mouth. Tomcontinues to explain that he thinks Aunt Sally likes it. On his wayto town, Huck meets with Tom and they make up another story abouttheir identities. Huck and Tom come up with a plan to rescue Jim.Throughout this episode, Mark Twain uses humor to add realism tovarious situations (Clemenspar).

Throughoutthe novel, Mark Twain employs realism in his unique writing. Heexplores for instance the gullibility that the society had when theking and the duke went to the camp meeting and asked the poor toraise collections for them (Gregorypar).This was after the king came up with a story saying that he was aprivate and had lost all of his crew at the sea. In response to this,the poor people agreed that they should raise the collections forthem. To bring out the realism in his novel, Twain uses hypocrisy,lying and deceit through his characters. He is also good in the wayhe uses his characters who speak various dialects. In fact, Twainuses the real dialect that was common among the society at the time.This in a great sense therefore demonstrates the realist qualitiesthat Twain possesses. There are many critics that have describedTwain severally as a realist. In the preface of the book Adventuresof Huckleberry Finn, he describes himself as a realist (Clemenspar).

Twainuses realism to bring out yet another important theme in his novel.This theme in particular is satire. Satire is present throughout thenovel. A good example is the first chapter where Huck talks of theway Mrs. Watson asks the niggers to come in and together they praybefore everyone is sent off to bed. In this case satire is broughtout through the fact that Mrs. Watson thinks of herself as a betterChristian yet she keeps slaves and takes them as her own property.Another good example is when Pap becomes very angry at the thought ofa nigger having the opportunity to vote. More interestingly, theblack man happens to be more educated than Pap.

Inthe novel the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the author Mark Twaindemonstrates satire in the society through the use of realism, humorand hypocrisy. One of the main areas through which the author hasdemonstrated satire is the religion in the 1840s. For instance, Huckis forced to read and memorize the bible by Mrs. Watson. From thevery beginning of the book, it is clear that Huck does not like thewidow nor does he like her lectures. Huck is forced to read and learnall the important figures in the bible (Worthington,p 188).In this particular case, Twain uses Huck’s experience to show howthe society used so much time in dedication to the works done by thelong gone ancestors while in its place they should be more concernedof the present day. In this regard therefore, people and in this casethe religious people are blinded by their beliefs from seeing thereality in the modern life (Clemenspar).

Satirein the society is also demonstrated by the author through numerousepisodes throughout the novel. Other situations that the author hassuccessfully demonstrated this is the case of Pap who is very angryfor the thought of a black man having a chance to vote. He continuesto say that he is more superior to the black man even though theblack man is more educated than Pap who is also a drunk. In anothersituation, the Grangerford family had been raised in feuds. In thisfamily, feuds are a tradition and they therefore do not end them. AsHuck says, it is pity that people are raised doing some things butthey continue doing so without them posing and looking back at theconsequences (Gregorypar).

Itis important to note that Mark Twain is successful in creating Huckas a character who simplifies freedom within and from Americansociety. Huck is more like an orphan since he is the son of thevillage drunk who do not care about him. He therefore sleeps whereverhe wants as long as no one sends him away and he eats whenever hewants as long as he gets a morsel, no one needs him to bath or dressrespectably, no one requires him to attend the church or the school.The fact that Huck is the one responsible of feeding himself has madehim harden. He has seen the practicability of life through his zestfor adventure (MacLeod,pp 5-17).

Inthis case therefore, Mark Twain has the freedom to weigh the benefitsas well as the costs of living independent of the society or to livein a society through Huck. Though the adult society do not like Huck,Mark Twain successfully makes Huck very likeable and therefore theadults in the book do not convince the reader that Huck is a bad boy(SparkNotespar).

Twaincan be described as a realist. Most of his work in this particularnovel up to chapter 31 shows that the Adventures of Huckleberry Finnis a realist text. Twain has used humor to bring the out the life ofthe American society in the 1840s.it was a trying time that wasinfested with slavery, racism and hatred between the blacks and thewhites. The society was divided between races. Those who belonged tothe superior race which in this case was the whites looked down uponthe blacks. The blacks were seen as lesser human beings and they weretherefore treated as property by the whites. They were owned andcontrolled just like any other material property (SparkNotespar).They could be bought and sold at the masters will and they were notallowed to own property. They were not allowed to enjoy the privilegeof voting for their leaders. At a time like this when the blacks wereyearning for freedom, Twain gives an insight of the society throughhis characters. He shows the moral decadence of the society. Thesociety was immoral in the sense that, there was inequality. Racismwas rampant and the blacks were treated as a lesser human being.Through Huck and other characters, the author shows the hypocrisythat existed in the society. Through Ms. Watson for example, sheinsists that Huck should read and learn all the important people inthe bible. She tells the blacks to come and join them in prayersbefore sending then to bed. She tries to be a better Christian whileshe still owns slaves whom she treats as her own property. Though thebible requires that all people be treated equally, this is not whatMs. Watson treats her slaves and this therefore shows that hypocrisywas common in the society (SparkNotespar).

Throughhumor, Mark Twain has painted for us a picture of the society in the1840s. The various episodes that are present in the novel the‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ are hilarious. The evil thingsin the society are said in a hilarious way that is likely not toupset people. Most of the critics describe Twain as a realist. Theysay that he tells the truth in this particular novel. It is of greatsignificance to tell the evils in the society in a way that is notlikely to arouse the feelings of people. When reading the book, thereader is made to understand the situation at the time through thecharacters that Twain so cleverly creates. The main star in thenovel who in this case is Huck is not liked by the adult society. Heis seen and treated as an urchin, a misfit in the society. However,Huck loves adventure. His way of life makes him feel free. Heunderstands freedom in his own way and feels that it is a necessityfor every human being (SparkNotespar).He do not understand why people have to bathe, go to church or toschool when they are required to according to him, he is not tied toany obligations. There is no one to look if he has bathed, if he iswell dressed, if he has gone to church or school. Huck feeds himselfand can sleep anywhere he feels like as long as there is no one tochase him off. This is his since of freedom. He is not owned byanyone and this is the reason he wants to free Jim so that he cannotbe owned by anyone as a slave. The adventures of Huck are disapprovedby the adult society. Twain however makes Huck likeable to thereaders and this makes them more attentive to Huck. In a humorousway, Huck introduces the reader to the need for a change in thesociety in the 1840s. People and especially the adult were stillconservative and did not want to change with the changing times. Itwas for this reason that they disapproved Huck’s lifestyle. Theycould not understand his views of being free and living free. Theydid not accept the modern world.

Comedyand laughter has therefore played a major role to make Mark Twain’snovel, Adventures of Hucleberry Finn’ a success.


Clemens,S. 2006, Adventuresof Huckleberry Finn, Complete. RetrievedFrom, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/76/76-h/76-h.htm

Gregory,L. 1998, FindingJim Behind the Mask: The Revelation of African American Humanity inMark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. RetrievedFrom, http://itech.fgcu.edu/&amp/issues/vol1/issue1/huckfinn.htm

MacLeod, C. 1995,Telling the Truth in a Tight Place:&nbsp HuckleberryFinnand the Reconstruction Era.&nbsp TheSouthern Quarterly&nbsp34:&nbsp5-16.

SparkNotesLLC, TheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn. RetrievedFrom, http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/huckfinn/section2.rhtml

Twain,M. 2006, TheAdventures of HucleberryFinn.Retrieved From,http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amprct=j&ampq=&ampesrc=s&ampsource=web&ampcd=5&ampcad=rja&ampuact=8&ampved=0CFQQFjAE&ampurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcontentserver.adobe.com%2Fstore%2Fbooks%2FHuckFinn.pdf&ampei=99AaU_i6FoG57AapiIDYDg&ampusg=AFQjCNEn5Cw3aKIsM60Xc_KkZRIJ0GLv3w&ampsig2=5nsi0prkDnc-CiAw8S8O7Q&ampbvm=bv.62578216,d.ZGU

Worthington,LH. 2012,Cormac McCarthy and the Ghost of Huck Finn. McFarlandPress.[http://books.google.co.m/books?id=m90O8S9WRYsC&amppg=PA198&amplpg=PA198&ampdq=MacLeod,+C.+1995,+Telling+the+Truth+in+a+Tight+Place:++Huckleberry+Finn+and+the+Reconstruction+Era.++The+Southern+Quarterly++34:++5-16.&ampsource=bl&ampots=fF4vFfoFyt&ampsig=ynxO3VNaHOfr2BZCe2hYHCmChY4&amphl=en&ampsa=X&ampei=QdkaU-ypGtDT7AbmsYGQDQ&ampredir_esc=y#v=onepage&ampq=MacLeod%2C%20C.%201995%2C%20Telling%20the%20Truth%20in%20a%20Tight%20Place%3A%20%20Huckleberry%20Finn%20and%20the%20Reconstruction%20Era.%20%20The%20Southern%20Quarterly%20%2034%3A%20%205-16.&ampf=false]