Hollis AP Lang and Comp 8 - 2011-12 discussion

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Twain's Satire

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message 1: by Mr. Hollis (new)

Mr. Hollis | 3 comments Mod
Read (or reread) chapters 16 to 24. Consider the episode between the two families (The Shepardson's and Grangerford's), and the antics of The King and The Duke. How do these two stories work as a sort of critical or satirical comment made by Mark Twain on the society and/or personal ambitions of Americans in the mid-18th century?


message 2: by Corbin (new)

Corbin (erosonify) | 2 comments Well The family feud between the Shepardson's and the Grangerford's is one of complete hubris. The two families are not fighting for any real reason, or any reason they can remember, they are fighting mainly for a ridiculous sense of honor and pride, and willing to irrationally fight to the death over these petty desires. The entirety of Huck's episode with the Grangerford's is one of contradiction and unsettling confusion for Huck.

Another source of confusion is the King and Duke (Dauphin, it's French!) These men are vagabonds and cons, and yet when they speak of their nobility, they are instantly above normal men in Huck and Jim's eyes should be waited on hand and foot. Later in the town when the two are putting on their production and over pricing their admission for a absolutely absurd show, it's hard to really feel bad for the audience because they continue to come back and not make it apparent that this is a fraud. The episode with the Wilk's sisters is no better. Huck even states his detest for the human race for the idiotic display of fraud and buffoonery, these girls actually have a belief that these random men are their relatives.

Thus, Twain is again commenting on how foolish the motives and characters of people can be, especially in this day in the Mid to late 1800's. The foolishness of these people is hard to sympathize with. The families with their ignorant feud. The crowd at the The Royal Nonesuch play is also ignorant of the obvious fraud and does nothing about other than become flustered. Finally, with the Wilk's sisters and their unreasonable belief that these men could possibly be their long lost uncles when it is all complete idiocy. It seems most of the characters that Huck and Jim have encountered are not very intelligent nor are they in anyway moral/righteous, thus, adding to the bonfire of simpletons which only furthers Twain's satirical comment on society.


message 3: by Luisa (last edited Dec 12, 2011 11:44AM) (new)

Luisa Veronica | 3 comments In the episode of the families Twain's satirizes the appearance that each family has and their real personalities whenever they are in a confrontation. The first impression that both families give is that of a well-mannered family, with education and civilized lives. But when they are before each other their manners and elegance are gone, they put them aside without thinking about it and become ambitious for a reason that not everyone knows. Not every member of the families know why they are keeping up that feud, they fight each other as a reaction, without knowing the motives. Twain’s satire is directed to criticize the way society in the mid-18’s century held their problems. Not all the member in the society knew what their real problems were therefore they were acting in a certain way without the assurance that it was the right thing. They would just let old rumors and ambitions control the way they were going to manage problems.
Same thing with the story of the King and the Duke, Twain satarizes the fact thatthe first impression that they give is that of a clear civilized honestperson but in the inside they are fake and corrupt, like it was in society during the mid-18th century.


message 4: by Francisco (new)

Francisco Rodriguez | 1 comments The Grangerford-Shepherdson family feud is completely absurd. These two neighboring families have had a family feud for years but by this time, both families are unaware of how or why the feud came to be. Instead of trying to clear things up with each other, both families fight each other every time they see one another, sometimes to the death as in the last year a fourteen year old Grangerford has been killed. Twain satirizes the way people in the mid-18th century deal with their problems. It is hard to believe how they can kill each other but go to church together. As Twain explains, “The two families attend church together and hold their rifles between their knees as the minister preaches about brotherly love.” Finally, Twain satirizes how people back then put worldly values over life itself.

It is similar in the case of the King and the Duke. Both men are con artists and make their living off cheating people off their money. Although they didn’t know each other before they met in Huck's raft, they made a good friendship as they both knew how to trick people. That is when they decide to turn into the King and Duke. Huck knows that they are fake con artists but keeps quiet to avoid any troubles. Twain is critical of this as the mid-18th century society kept quiet about their feelings, in order to avoid being judged by society. Also when the dauphin goes to the religious meeting, he fools the townspeople there into thinking he was a pirate, reformed by the revival meetings. Without knowing the dauphin, the people chant him and give him donations. Here, Twain criticizes how people from the 18th century would believe and listen to people when it was to their convenience. They heard only what they wanted to hear.


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