With respect to Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, discuss the intended meaning behind the ironic statements below.
1. "Here was this nigger... saying he would steal his children that belonged to a man I didn't even know."
2. "Next Sunday we all went to church... The [Grangerford] men took their guns along."
3. "All right then, I'll go to hell."
4. " When Jim bit... it most mashed all his teeth out; and there warn't ever anything could 'a' worked better."
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When discussing quotes from a novel, it is best to understand the character who is speaking and about what they are speaking. For example, the first quote is Huck thinking to himself about Jim wanting to "steal" someone else's property--in this case, they're his children. This is ironic because Huck is thinking about the Slave Laws that governed America's slave trade at the time. To Huck, owning another person was legal and common. To us today, it seems unexpected for someone to call children property of someone else other than their parents. In this story, Jim is a father and his children don't even belong to him? That is a surprising and unexpected twist to the idea of family. What else is unexpected? Are guns at church unexpected as stated in #2? Sure! For a place that talks about loving others, why would guns be needed there? Look at the other statements and check to see who says it and the issues behind why they say those things and you will discover the intended meaning of Mark Twain's points.
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