In Chapters 12 and 13 Huck and Jim come upon robbers, leave them stranded on the wreck of the _Walter Scott,_ and then Huck, feeling bad, tells a night watchman a story about the plight of the people on the boat so that he will save them.

There are several satirical points:

1. The boat is named Walter Scott after the Scottish romantic novelist. But the romance here consists of people murdering others for plunder and then being left to die themselves after they have been robbed. In other words all the exciting scenes depend upon betrayal, robbery, and cruelty. Twain is satirizing the noble motives of people in the works of Sir Walter Scott.

2. After Huckleberry Finn sends the night watchman to rescue the robbers and the man whom they wanted to leave for dead, he congratulates himself for thinking he has done a good deed the way the widow Douglas, from whom he has run away, would have wanted, because “rapscallions and dead beats is the kind the widow and good people takes the most interest in.” In other words, charitable impulses spring from indulgence and self-congratulation rather than disinterested noble impulses. Twain is satirizing sentimental charity.

3. The night watchman is completely uninterested in helping Huck until Huck persuades him that one of the imperilled people in his made-up story is related to to a rich man, Jim Hornbeck. Once again, charity and effort is never far from self-interest.

4. A few chapters later the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons are engaged in a duel. On Sunday each of them goes to church to worship and then afterwards resume killing each other. Isn’t religion supposed to affect a person and encourage love and harmony? Christian Religion is a frequent object of Twain’s satire as it shows the hypocrisy of human beings through Huck’s innocent eyes. In Chapter XVIII, Huck visits a church on an errand for Sophia Grangerford and writes: “...there warn’t anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn’t any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it’s cool. If you notice, most folks don’t go to church only when they’ve got to; but a hog is different.”

Check satire in huckleberry finn article


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