Homework Help

What is Sherburn's attitude toward the men who are attempting to lynch him in The...

user profile pic

uajennie27 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 29, 2012 at 8:32 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is Sherburn's attitude toward the men who are attempting to lynch him in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

 This can be found in chapters 17-23.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Disdain characterizes Sherburns attitude toward the mob. In clear language, Sherburn chastises and criticizes the men in the mob, saying they are not men at all. He tells the mob that they are led by a "half-man" and that there is not a real man among them. 

Sherburn does not defend his actions. 

He endures Boggs's taunts and gives him a warning before shooting the man in front of his own daughter.

When the mob arrives, stirred up and "prepared" to lynch Sherburn, he does not make excuses for killing Boggs. He does not even discuss Boggs. Instead, he focuses his attentions and his disdain on the mob. 

The town threatens to lynch him, but his scornful speech about the cowardice of the average American man and the mobs he participates in breaks up the crowd.

Sherburn clearly has no respect for the people threatening him and does not feel that he needs to answer to them for what he has done. So confident in his position and in the moral weakness of the mob, Sherburn effectively stares down the entire mob, using ridicule and vitriol to reduce them to a gaggle of ineffectual individuals. 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes