Well I guess the best way to start an overview of Twain's book is to startby asking just what is Mark Twain trying to say through his book?
Well, he is saying a lot of things, so let's pick one and let's go, and whatwe will start with is, oh what the hey, let's start with race, that's an awfulbig topic.
At first glance the book stands firmly saying Slavery is bad mostly becauseit is hypocritical. It is well supported considering Huck is able to interactwith Jim as a human being while the southern slave society treats Jim as anobject. Furthermore the Southener representations are pale in comparison toHuck's wits and intelligence, examples include the slave catchers who aretricked into thinking Jim is Huck's small pox riddled father, and the whole feudthing doesn't show much in the line of smarts for southern slave owners.
Unfortunately for this Bold statement by Twain, slavery ended 30years before the book was published, So Twain making a statement like that iscomparable to me writing a book on how bad a typewriter is. So what then isTwain saying about race? Furthermore, if Twain is speaking about race, why doeshe use the word "nigger" so often?
So what's the answer? The answer is that Twain is using race as a singleelement in his entire picture of the hypocrisy of his society. In other words,Twain isn't attacking that whole darn race issue as much as he is attacking thesociety he lives in. Twain uses race to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the richand the well-refined, among other things, and what better way to startdemonstrating the falsities of a society of snobby landowners then by showingthe vulgarity of their language a.k.a. the use of the "N" word. IfTwain is saying anything about race, he is making an allegorical statementcomplaining that the civil war didn't end slavery, that living conditions arestill undesirable for most blacks. (Notice how Jim was free for over twoweeks, however his worst suffering occurred during his freedom, coincidence? Ithink not!)
What is Twain's next big statement about society? Religion. Twain's firstbig shot at the hypocrisy of religion comes as such examples as Miss Watson who,because of her religion, treats blacks as objects even though the bible saysthat people should be treated equally. Twain also throws in the scene at thechurch, where the Shepardsons and Grangerfords have gathered to hear a sermonabout brotherly love, and both families have guns in their hands and kill eachother after the service is through. Twain also has a main character who rejectsreligion, yet Huck, for the most part, has the clearest view of society.
Twain throughout the novel takes shots at society. In the Duke and Dauphin'srendition of Romeo and Juliet, they receive no audience until the Duke andDauphin place, "women and children are not admitted" on theiradvertisements. Once they place that on their ad, the peoples' interest growsin the play and they get an audience. Earlier in the book, Twain writes about the reform system, where the Judge believing that he had just reformed Pap, gives him a coat and releases him into the public, almost immediately, Pap sells the coat for alcohol.
So all this leads up to my overall take of the book. All over the novelTwain has been making these little comments about society and how fake it is.However, that is not his whole theme of the book, after all, that would be aslightly over used theme, everyone has wrote something on how bad society is,except for some lousy optimist somewhere, so what is Twain's theme?
Go West Young Man! Well, actually, that is not his theme,that is someone else's, but Twain's theme is similar, society is bad, so go outonto the frontier and live a free life. WOW! an exciting theme, but heythere is more. This is my personal theory, but let's look at some more scenes.Twain has already taken shots at mainstream religion, so he adds an alternative,Jim's voodoo style religion. Twain shows that there are many situations whereJim's voodoo was wrong, the hairball for example, but, at least Jim'sreligion wasn't hypocritical! Just wrong. So Twain has shown two examples ofreligion that he does not profess, so what religion is Twain spousing?Satanism!! just click on the button and look atthe picture.
Well, maybe I don't really have proof showing Twain to be a satanist, so,well, I guess, I is going to stick with that first main theme I brought up, thehead out into the frontier one, and, well, shucks, hoped ya liked my review.
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