Humor and Wit in Huckleberry Finn

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Religious Hypocrisy and Racism in Huckleberry Finn

In Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, a very powerful and potent message lies behind the lighthearted and humorous storyline. Twain uses wit and humor in Huckleberry Finn to satirize and expose elements of society that he believed needed reform, namely religious hypocrisy and racial prejudice.

Throughout the novel, religious hypocrisy is very prevalent as Twain illustrates that many people do not apply their religion to their everyday lives. The Widow Douglas forces Huck to go to church, teaches him Bible verses, and tries to get him to clean up his act. She condemns him for smoking, although "she took snuff too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself (6). This humorous statement has a purpose behind it. Twain shows what a hypocrite the Widow is. She teaches Huck about living to go to the "good place," but owns slaves, which is condemned in the Bible. She not realize that what she is advising Huck to do, she does not do herself. Huck also experiences religious hypocrisy when he stays with the Grangerfords. When they all go to church on Sunday, "the men [take] their guns along . . . and [keep] them between their knees or [stand] them handy against the wall" while they l

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