Hypocrisy In Huck Finn

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The Adventurous Huckleberry Finn Hailed by (most) critics and language arts teachers alike, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a complex novel with several developed themes. What this book does bring to the table is a controversial literary device. “Backpedaling” which is the idea of deconstructing pre-existing ideas or character developments to highlight another. Full of intentional contradictions, Mark Twain uses his own hypocrisy and puts it into our protagonist, Huck to make him a realistic and, relatable character. This is done in several ways through the novel; It is done in the character’s moral development, within the setting itself with a variety of hypocritical ideologies, and in the oversimplification of characters…show more content…
With Huck’s outsider’s perspective Twain shows us hypocrisy in common society. Every time Huck (and by extension the reader) starts to agree with a particular ideology of a group of people, every time Twain starts to develop a theme (such as the importance of family or religion, brotherhood, community), Twain addresses the problems with such idealisms in his estimation. Take, for example, Chapter 17’s ‘the Grangerford and Shepherdson episode’. Huck come to be with a kind and rich family and does genuinely think about staying there for a while as they seem perfect and really show the importance of family to Huck… it was not meant to be. On a walk with a Grangerford, someone from the Sherpeson family… and the Grangerford attempts to shoot the Shepardson for no apparent reason. When Huck asks him why he did that the Grangerford explains a long-standing and bloody feud between the two families, the purpose of which no one can remember. Disgusted Huck stays with them a few more days and eventually attends church with them where a sermon about brotherly love and kindness is given and the Grangerfords love it…. But instead of applying this to their lives they continue to try to kill the Grangerfords soon after. This is among the biggest ways in which Twain backpedals his themes. We were shown the themes of family and of brotherhood and what not, but then we’re shown the complete opposite as it adds realism as well as contradictions, with
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