Give examples of literary techniques used in chapters 26 through 33 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Literary techniques include color imagery, alliteraton, simile, figurative language,...

Give examples of literary techniques used in chapters 26 through 33 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Literary techniques include color imagery, alliteraton, simile, figurative language, dialect, etc.

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shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered an American classic, possibly THE American classic, by many literary experts.

Every chapter is infused with Huck’s voice, a first-person vernacular that, by chapter 26, the reader has become quite accustomed to. By “voice” we mean literary voice, not the physical sound produced by our vocal chords. A literary voice is a style and manner of speaking or writing. Huck’s voice, which is really Twain’s literary voice, does more to characterize Huck than anything else is in the story. It is almost a precursor to the narrative of technique called “stream of consciousness,” which developed later in the next century.

Huck’s voice reflects his innocence and lack of education. The mistakes he makes are often revealed in the form of puns (words that sound like another word but mean something else). Early in chapter 26, Huck tells that reader that the “king” referred to him as his “valley.” What the king really called Huck was his “valet.” Huck’s mistake is humorous in its ignorance; he does not understand what a valet is.

In chapter 27, Huck reports what happens when the characters sit down to eat. Notice the example of parallel structure:

Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan alongside of her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chickens was.

The repetition of the “how . . . was” structure gives the passage a smooth, unified flow—it is pleasant to read and effective in it delivering its message.

In chapter 27, Twain uses imagery to communicate the effect of death on Huck’s young mind. Huck has just recovered stolen gold and decides to hide it in the occupied coffin of a recently deceased character:

I tucked the money-bag in under the lid, just down beyond where his hands was crossed, which made me creep, they was so cold, and then I run back across the room and in behind the door.

Images are words that convey sensory information. They give us a mental sensation of seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling. In this case, Huck’s hand touches the corpse. The fact that it is “cold” makes him “creep” (another nice example of Huck’s vernacular). By reporting the scene this way, Twain makes it possible for us to share a piece of Huck’s experience. Imagine if Twain had Huck simply say, “The dead body was creepy”? The reader wouldn’t have felt anything.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 32, Huck feels that he is close to being caught in a lie with Mrs. Phelps. He vividly characterizes his situation with a metaphor

"Well, I see I was up a stump - and up it good."

The metaphor is also an allusion to a common term, the colloquialism "up a tree". His turn of phrase is a play on that common term suggesting that his tree is not tall enough to offer any protection. He is sure to be caught. 

Hyperbole is also used in this section of the novel. When Huck discovers that the Phelps family believes him to be Tom Sawyer, Huck says, "By jings, I most slumped through the floor!" This is also an example of figurative language used to express a rather extreme emotional moment.

Examples of dialect appear throughout this section of the novel as well with examples of phonetic usages like "dasn't" and "deffisit" emphasizing the particular pronunciations of certain words and phrases.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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