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How are the events surrounding Boggs's death and the circus that Huck attends different...

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hollie42 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted September 26, 2013 at 8:48 PM via web

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How are the events surrounding Boggs's death and the circus that Huck attends different and similar in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 27, 2013 at 5:11 AM (Answer #1)

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These two events, that occur in Chapter 22, are similar in the way that they demonstrate how fickle humans are and also how open we are to being deceived. Firstly, the way that, after Boggs' death, the mob is faced down by Colonel Sherburn shows the spineless way that so often humans will embark on a course in a group, but how easily they can be faced down and challenged. Note what Sherburn says to the group of men who come to lynch him:

The idea of you lynching anybody! It's amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man" Because your're brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay yhour hands on a man? 

Colonel Sherburn stops the lynching because he points out the true cowardice at the heart of the mob, and establishes their nature as fickle beings, who may act with moral outrage, but when challenged, back down. 

In a similar way, at the circus, one thing appears to be happening only for something completely different to occur. A drunk man rides a horse in a very risky fashion, almost falling off several times, only to reveal that he was never drunk at all and it was all an act. This time, however, the crowd loves the trickery, and applauds with great strength. The ringmaster, however, was very angry because he had been deceived. Both incidents involve a change in either an individual or a group of individuals, but the difference lies in the way that Colonel Sherburn challenges the men and reveals their cowardice and the supposedly drunk horseman deceives the crowd for entertainment. 

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