Give examples of literary techniques used in chapters 17 through 25 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Literary techniques include color imagery, alliteration, simile, figurative language, dialect, etc.
Chapter 21 opens with a description of life of the raft with the two frauds that have beset the lives of Huck, Jim, and the communities along the river. Here we see two examples of literary devices in a sentence, figurative language and dialect (culturally specific terminology).
"The king and the duke turned out by and by looking pretty rusty; but after they'd jumped overboard and took a swim it chippered them up a good deal."
The phrase "rusty" is an example of figurative language. Though the phrase is rather common and widely used, it is not literal, but figurative, comparing the motions of the men to motions of rusted machinery.
The term "chippered" is a colloquialism that is not as widely used as "rusty". This term is more literal yet is also more locally defined, making it an example of dialectic expression.
As the King and the Duke practice their Shakespearean performance, the Duke uses a simile to help coach the King in his delivery of Juliet's lines: "...she doesn't bray like a jackass."
More examples of simile, metaphor and colloquial langauge populate these chapters. "One-horse town" and "dangersome" are two more examples of colloquialism and dialectic expression.
There is, indeed, a reason why Ernest Hemingway famously declared, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Renowned critic H. L. Mencken concurred as he called Twain's novel a clear vision of life because Twain was
...less deceived by its false appearances than any other American who has ever presumed to manufacture generalization, not excepting Emerson.
Mencken also contended that Twain wrote "cleaner, straighter, more vivid, and saner English" than Washington Irving or Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Much of the vividness of Twain's novel comes from his use of figurative language.
- In Chapter XVIII, Huck describes Colonel Grangerford as "well-born," meaning born into a wealthy and prestigious family. Huck adds that having a good bloodline is "worth as much in a man as it is in a horse," which is a simile. (Here Twain's satire of the values of the Old South's gentlemen is apparent.) Further in his description of Col. Grangerford, Huck narrates that the man "is as kind as he could be," but when he "straightened himself up like a liberty-pole," a simile, "lightning begun to flicker out from under his eyebrows so you wanted to climb a tree first, and find out what the matter was afterwards." This colorful metaphor describes the colonel's temper.
Later in the chapter, Huck expresses himself in colloquial metaphor as he alludes to someone who "dodged the bullet."
- In Chapter VIII, the significance of the raft as a haven from the hypocrisies and malignancy of society is mentioned as Huck reflects upon this symbol of freedom: "We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel might free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
- In Chapter XIX, Huck begins his narration with personification as he describes a couple of days having "slid along so quietly and smooth and lovely."
- In Chapter XX, there is personification again with the weather: "...how the wind...did scream along."
- In Chapter XXI, there are literary allusions as the Duke and the King recite passages from Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.
- In Chapter XXII, there is hyperbole in Huck's description of a circus as "the splendidest sight there ever was."
- In Chapter XXIII, the duke uses epithets for the audience, "Greenhorns, flatheads!"
- In Chapter XXIV, there is a Biblical allusion to the third book of the Old Testament, Leviticus.
- In Chapter XXV, there is a simile as "Mary Jane's face and her eyes was all lit up like glory."