Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a criticism and a protest against Southern society of the 19th century. Throughout the novel Twain recognizes the cowardice, hypocrisy, and stupidity of the South during the period leading up to the Civil War. As Huck and Jim float down the river in their journey for freedom, each of their adventures shows us a little more about how Mark Twain felt about the South, and it's views on slavery, brotherhood, and society as a whole. In fact, many of the characters within the novel are direct representations of the South, each portraying a different aspect or view of the South in the eyes of the author. There are three scenes in the book which can easily be identified as direct editorials speaking out against the South. The first is the family feud portion of the novel, as two families rage war against one another, for reasons that they don't even know, killing all the males from the Grangerford side, depicting the stupidity and brutality of life in the South. The second is the conversation when Aunt Sally and Huck first meet, and Twain shows us the South's disgusting views of African Americans an slavery. And finally, the greatest example of Twain's use of the novel to speak out against the South is in found roof scene with Colonel Sherburne, a scene in which Mark Twain uses the Colonel to speak his mind, without hiding his opinions behind a metaphor, and telling the reader exactly how he feels of the South.
These three scenes, along with several other small incidences in the novel, come together to paint an ugly picture of Southern Society in the eyes of the greatest American novelist in history.
In chapters seventeen though nineteen, Huck crosses paths with a seemingly typical wealthy Southern family, but the reader is instantly aware that this is not a normal family. We are shown that every male in the family is shouldering a rifle, including the youngest boy, around the age of thirteen.