Considered to be one of America's greatest novels, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has captivated readers for over a hundred years. It is the story of a boy on a mission to help a slave, Jim, escape from slavery. This mission consists of "a journey that will take him more than a thousand miles downstream"(Smith 1) the Mississippi, over the course of which Huck and Jim experience adventure after adventure. It is these adventures that make The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn an enjoyable piece of literature for readers of all ages. However, it is not the adventures of Huck and Jim that make the novel great. Instead, the greatness of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be attributed to it's possession of witty satire, it's clear messages about the wrongs of society, and the evolution of Huck and his relationship with Jim. .
Mark Twain's inclusion of satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an excellent attribute of the book. Henry Nash Smith describes this aspect of the novel as a "curious blend of humor and satire" (4), which indeed it is. Religion is one of the targets of Twain's satire. An instance of this occurs when Widow Douglas is discussing Moses with Huck. The Widow Douglas represents the devout religious part of society. Twain satirizes this group through Huck's statement "Here she was a bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone" (Twain 15). Twain mocks religion's blind and unwavering belief in religion. Another instance of satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn transpires when Huck's group of friends forms a gang. During the discussion the boys decide that they will kidnap people and then hold them for ransom; however, noone knows what ransom is. When Tom Sawyer proposes that keeping someone for ransom "means to keep them till they"re dead" (21) all the boys take it as the truth, even though none really know for sure.