In Chapter 5, Twain uses humor to recount a dramatic serious of events. Identify the comic devices Twain uses, and explain how these devices create humor.
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The comic device in chapter 5 is Pap’s “reformation” which is not a reformation at all. Huck’s father purports to give up sin and return to God. The judge’s treatment of Pap, trying to make a religious and sober man of him, is quite funny.
[The] old man cried, and said he'd been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be ashamed of… (ch 5, p. 19)
In the end, they finally realize that Pap is not going to reform. He is an alcoholic and near-do-well, and simply does not care about fitting into polite society. Huck is definitely better off without him, because he will never be a responsible parent.
Huck describes the incident matter-of-factly, adding to the humor. He seems to take things in stride, and just accept whatever comes.
"Deadpan" humor is used throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This means that a comic situation is presented factually, without emphasis on the comic nature of the situation. We see this toward the end of the chapter when Huck narrates the events that take place in the judge's house after he has taken in Huck's father to reform him.
The reform, of course, does not take. After Huck's father betrays the judge's offer of help, he comes to see that the man is beyond reform and makes, again, a deadpan remark, paraphrased by Huck:
The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could reform the old man wtih a shotgun, maybe, but he didn't know no other way.
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