TheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn
Irony can be defined as an outcomethat is deliberately contrary to what is expected. It is a literarytechnique employed in which the language used signifies the opposite.This can be to achieve humor or emphasize something. Ironicincidences are prevalent in "The Adventures of HuckleberryFinn." Most of the irony in this book comes from the ignoranceof the people, and it impacts the community significantly. Anotherstyle that Mark Twain uses to demonstrate irony is sarcasm. Sarcasmis when something said is intended to mean the opposite. This paperwill focus on of irony and what it reveals in "The Adventures ofHuckleberry Finn."
"When we were ready to shoveoff we was a quarter of a mile below the island, and it was prettybroad day so I made Jim lay down in the canoe and cover up with aquilt, because if he set up people could tell he was a nigger a goodways off." (Twain, 53). This statement made by Hunk is ironical.This is because Hunk is considered among the educated in the societysuch utterances are not expected of him. But he ignorantly assumesthat he and Jim can be distinguished from a significant distance fortheir skin color. He believes that black people are different fromwhites, something the reader wouldn`t expect from an educated person.Additionally, Hunk describes to Jim some false (backward) ideas hehas learned in school. This is not what the readers expect from theschool either. They rather expect schools to teach about modernizedand advanced ideas.
Moreover, the society is portrayedas a Christian and a civilized society throughout the entire book,yet it behaves in a different manner. For instance, Miss Watsonsermons Huck about being honest, yet she lies to Jim that she wouldnever sell him South. Huck too, when approached by the twoslave-hunters, he lies that everyone (including him) in the raft isinfected with smallpox (Twain, 215). He does this to send the menaway rather than being charitable to offer help. A Christian isexpected to remain honest at all times. Lying is considered a sin.Such ignorance from the educated and the trusted individuals resultto backwardness and division in the society.
Twain uses irony in a comic mannerin the subplot with the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords. The twogroups have hated, feuded, and killed each other for decades whilethey attend the church together. Ironically, they are taught aboutbrotherly love in Church but right after the service, they pick upthe fight. Hunk observes that "everybody said it was a goodsermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such apowerful lot to say about faith and good works." (Twain, 112).On this particular Sunday, the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords hadcarried guns in church and pretended to enjoy the sermon.
It is also ironical when thecongregation realizes that the king cheats out of money. The readerexpects the assemblage to feel betrayed and perhaps punish the king,but rather the opposite happens (Twain,99). The people getso emotional during the meeting and are filled with the "love ofGod" to the extent that they become very gullible and donatemore money to the king. Twain demonstrates in this novel that peoplewere not serious with the Church and the teachings but rather hidtheir true self in the religion. In the earlier part of the book,Huck states that it is fun to pray while his character demonstratesthe opposite.
What matters is not how religiousone is but rather how they impact others and the society. Well, it isdemonstrated in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Most peopleportray themselves as Christians, but the society is a mess. Peoplelie, hate, kill, and enslave others, something not expected from aChristian society. It is ironical for Christians to commit such acts.
Twain,Mark, and Stephen Railton. Adventuresof Huckleberry Finn.Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2011. Print.