Society in Twain’s Eyes
Mark Twain expresses his views of society in his works of literature. Twain had opinions on many different issues affecting the people of the world. After analyzing these stories his criticisms of mankind are revealed. In Mark Twain’s works, he criticizes religion, slavery, and selfishness to show readers how these issues influence society.
Mark Twain criticizes religion in his writings. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain uses Huck as his main character to criticize religion. Huck is angry because he believes that the religious people in his life are hypocritical. While living with the Grangerfords, he notices that they bring their guns to church. ...view middle of the document...
Another topic that Mark Twain criticizes is Slavery. Slavery plays a big role in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, seeing as Huck is helping Jim escape slavery. In the society that Huck lives in, slavery is accepted and most people have slaves. In the novel slaves are treated like they are not humans. At one point in the novel Aunt Sally asks Huck if anyone was killed on the steamboat. He says: “No’m. Killed a nigger,” to which Aunt Sally replies “Well it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt” (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 232). Twain uses this situation to satirize slavery, which shows his criticisms. Throughout the novel Huck deals with disagreements internally about what is morally right and wrong. He wants to help Jim, but society says that freeing a slave is a sin. In this instance, Huck is right to want to help Jim and treat him as his equal, eventually looking to him as a father. Gemma Marshall makes a good point, saying: “Does Jim not make for a far more suitable role model than the drunkard Pap?”
Religion can also be tied into this criticism. The slave owners in the novel think that owning a slave is morally right and is the Christian way, which shows not only criticism of slavery, but also of religion. Lastly, towards the end of the novel, Jim doesn’t try to escape even though it would be very simple for him. “Jim he couldn’t see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed we was white folks and knowed better than him; so he was satisfied, and said he would do it all just as Tom said” (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 260). When Jim says this he is realizing that in the society he lives in, it is his place to be a slave, and that is what he is destined. He later finds out that he has been freed and he begins to realize he can do whatever he sets his mind to. The criticisms of slavery that Twain expresses show that he understood the ridiculousness of slavery and he did not concur with the hypocritical people who accepted slavery as a morally acceptable issue.
Twain also criticizes selfishness in his works. Many examples can be found in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. “Pap's total disregard for his son's feelings and property show him to be a selfish character” ” (“Humanity Exposed in Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”). He is a drunk and doesn’t care about Huck at all. Tom is one of the most selfish people in the novel because he only cares about entertaining himself. He acts childish and does not think about how his actions affect others. One night, Tom and Huck trick Jim into thinking witches had been flying around him. Huck ends up getting in trouble for getting his clothes dirty after going out. When he and the other boys are playing robbers they go and disrupt a Sunday school picnic. They end up getting into a large amount of trouble all because of Tom’s need to amuse himself. When Huck and Jim are planning to break Jim out of...