.. els down the river, he learns and does many things that would be contrary to the beliefs of society such as helping the slave escape. He also learns the idea that black people are people, too, despite the teachings of society. 7. Style Twains style is simple and conveys his ideas in a boyish mood.
The book is somewhat of an irony in itself because of this style. He gives his complex observations on society through the eyes and through the speech of a young boy out for adventure. He also pays close attention to detail in dealings with the different areas down the river, especially in speech and dialogue. 8. Diction Twain tells the story through Huck Finn and his diction is typical of the southern speech of a young boy during that time and area. The diction is very informal.
This makes the diction simple and easy to understand with humorous differences between this writing style and other more formal ones. Much of the descriptions and imagery is humorous in this way. Twain also uses a lot of irony. Twains also pays close attention to the diction of the speech of the various people from the various areas down the river. The writing style in this book is not flowery or poetic, but simply the speech of a young boy.
Passage 1: “By and by he rolled out and jumped up to his feet looking wild, and he see me and went for me. He chased me round and round the place with a clasp knife, calling me the Angel of death, and saying he would kill me, and then I couldnt come for him no more. I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but he laughed such a screechy laugh, an roared and cussed, and kept on chasing me up.” This is a typical passage from out of Huck Finn. It is apparent that the writing style is simple and informal. This is easily believable as the speech of Huck.
Passage 2: “They tackled missionarying, and mesmerizing, and doctoring, and telling fortunes, and a little of everything; but they couldnt seem to have no luck. So at last they got just about dead broke, and laid around the raft as she floated along, thinking and thinking, and never saying nothing, by the half a day at a time, and dreadful blue and desperate.” Twains writing is clear and simple. There is nothing too difficult about the passage and it is easy to understand. At the same time, it conveys a feeling of desperation. Passage 3: “Jim had plenty of corncob pipes and tobacco; so we had a right down good sociable time, there we crawled out through the hole, and so home to bed, with hands that looked like thed been cawed.
Tom was in high spirits. He said it was the best fun he ever had in his life.” This passage is again simple and easy to understand. Here, Twain gives a sense of childish fun and adventure. 9. Syntax Twains syntax is simple and informal often breaking laws of grammar to do so.
Hucks narration is like normal speech so it is sometimes in fragments and incomplete sentences, but always simple. The dialogue in the book is similar. However, being more like speech than Hucks narration, it gets sometimes difficult to understand. Occasionally, the characters ramble and string various phrases together; anything a person would normally do while speaking. In passage 2, Huck lists off some of the professions that the duke and king did while on the journey.
Some of the professions are obviously wrongly put, such as missionarying, but still it is understandable. In passage 3, Huck uses the term, “right down good sociable time.” This phrase would not be used in formal writing, but Twain uses it here with good effect. Other characters, such as the Judge and Wilks brothers, speak fluently and correctly. While this differs from the rest of the book, their speech fits with their character. 10.
Imagery Twain uses much imagery to create a certain mood in his story. The main image is that of the Mississippi River. The river is described as wild and free flowing, typifying the type of life Huck wants to live. It is often tranquil and relaxing, and sometimes mysterious. Also, it serves as a sort of time line as the readers go along the story.
11. Symbolism A symbol that Twain uses throughout the book is that of the river. It symbolizes freedom, independence, and life in the wild. Huck flees civilization to life on the river to live freely and have an adventure. Huck escapes from everything on the river.
Another symbol is Jim. He is more than a character in the book but symbolizes all the slaves in the south. Through him, we see the southern attitude toward slaves and blacks, and through him, we also see the humanity even in slaves. Also, Widow Douglass and her sister Miss Watson symbolized society and civilization. They tried to civilize Huck but Huck would have nothing to do with them and ran from them just as he did from civilization.
12. Figurative Language In this book, Twain does not use much figurative language since he is limited by the use of Huck as the narrator. Because Huck is the narrator, it would not make sense to use too much figurative language since that would be like expecting an uncivilized adolescent to use a lot of figurative language in his speech. However, there are some cases of figurative language. Twain gives an example of a metaphor during one of Jims talks with Huck.
Jim says, “.. en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head or dey frens en makes em ashamed.” Jim compares trash with the people who play tricks on their friends. Twain does use many similes throughout the book, especially during descriptive passages. For example, he said of the duke and king that they “slept like dead people.” Twain rarely uses personification in this work. But occasionally applies it to steam boats.
Once saying that it was, “shining like red-hot teeth.” There are many allusions to other works in Huck Finn. Early in the book, he alludes to the story of Moses and the Bullrushers. He also alludes to Twains earlier work, Tom Sawyer. Also during the plays of the duke and king, he alludes, to Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. 13.
Ironic Devices Twain uses a lot of irony in this book to give it a little humor. Most of the ironic situations stem out of Hucks youth and gullibility. An example of verbal irony is given when Tom tell Huck of his new gang. Huck says, “But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable.” It is obvious to the readers that a band of robbers are not generally considered respectable. There is also an example of dramatic irony when Huck tells of the drunk horseman at the circus.
The readers know that the drunk was a trained acrobat but Huck does not see that. 14. Tone Twains tone in the story gives a humorous and informal mood but in much of the observations he makes on society, he is often critical. For example, during the raid on the Sunday school picnic, he shows a distaste for organized religion. He also shows a slight disrespect to the government during the incidents were Pap gets arrested.
During the conversation with Jim and Huck, Twain also reveals his dislike of slavery. 15. Memorable quotes “I thought it all out, and reckoned I would belong to the widow if he wanted me, though I couldnt make out how he was a-going to be any better off then than what he was before, seeing I was so ignorant, and so kind of low-down and ornery.” Huck talks about Pap with some disgust and disregard. While Huck is not completely afraid of him in this quote as he later becomes, he still does not show respect for his father. “..[Jim] would steal his children — children that belonged to a man..
a man that hadnt ever done me no harm.” This quote shows that Huck is still troubled by helping Jim and that he still does not yet understand that Jim is just as human as those people who own his children. This shows a stage in his growth in understanding about slavery and Jim. “Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.” Huck begins to realize the true nature of humans being the polite exterior of society. This shows a belief of Twain and can even be considered and general truth in any society. “Well, if ever I struck anything like it, Im a nigger. It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.” Huck says this about the duke and king and is discouraged by their rough manners and attitudes to make him ashamed of his own race. “..
and at least I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so greatful, and said I was a best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one hes got now..” This shows how much Huck has grown attached to Jim. Huck feels that Jim is more human than he thought at the beginning of the novel and begins to think that Jims life is worth saving. 16. Additional comments While Huck Finn was rather humorous and fun to read, it is said to have contained much of Twains philosophy on society and culture. While I did see much of Twains idea about society, because of the nature of the book, it remains hard for me to see it as more than a childrens adventure story.