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Small Town Mentality in America in Huckleberry Finn

Small Town Mentality in America in Huckleberry Finn

Although Mark Twain was from a small river town, namely Hannibal, Missouri, he doesn’t seem to paint a very flattering picture of them in the book Huckleberry Finn. Throughout the book the two main characters, Huck and Jim, travel down river coming into contact with these types of small river town people. Twain uses this book to satirize the people of these towns. He shows these people to be dumb, gullible, uneducated, gutless, and inhuman. The following will explain the situations where characters were given these personality flaws.

Twain showed how inhuman and dumb river people could be through his Shepherdson and Grangerford episode. In this episode the Shepherdsons and Grangerfords were carrying on a feud that had lasted a long time and had taken many lives. The stupidity of this feud is shown when Buck Grangerford had this conversation with Huck: Huck says, “What was the trouble about, Buck?—land?” Buck then responds, “I reckon maybe—I don’t know.” Huck then says, “Well, who done the [first] shooting?—was it a Grangerford or a Shepherdson?” Buck responds, “Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago.”(Twain, 144) Here Twain shows the stupidity of the situation. A person fighting, who ends up getting killed, doesn’t know what he’s fighting about.

Twain also shows the gullible and uneducated nature of small town river people. In the novel Huck and Jim meet up with two con men who call themselves the king and the duke. The king and duke swindle many towns people out of their money in certain episodes. In one such episode, the king preached of being a reformed pirate. He preached to the small town crowd about how he needed money to return to the sea and help reform other pirates. The king got the gullible people to give in easy through the flattering words he said he would tell the pirates that reformed. These words were, “Don’t you thank me, don’t you give me no credit, it all belongs to them dear people in Pokeville camp-meeting (the small town they were in at the time), natural brothers and benefactors of the race…”(Twain, 175) Through simple flattery these people were taken advantage of . Twain believes this to be the normal behavior of these small...

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