Hypocrisy In Mark Twain's The Adventurous Huckleberry 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 and plot points.

The most obvious use of backpedaling in ‘The Adventures of
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Huck starts as an ignorant boy who goes off into the world to escape his wicked father and proxy mother (very realistic) and ends as… a slightly less ignorant boy who goes off into the world to escape his kind proxy mother. This topic is most controversial due to a moment of massive development in chapter 31. To set the scene, imagine Huck’s new African American has been sold for money and Huck is conflicted about whether or not it is right to try and set him free, as it is (in his limited estimation) against the religion that he has been taught as ‘Jim’ (the name of the slave) is property. Huck has written a letter to the owner of Jim and is debating whether or not to send it. The book reads, ‘“All right, then, I’ll go to hell”—and tore it up.’ Huck decided that he doesn’t care if it’s wrong, he doesn’t care if some unknowable God is passing judgment upon him. He wants to help his friend. Here’s where the backpedaling comes in. For those hoping for moments of heroism you are not going to have your hopes
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