How do the furnishings of the Grangerford house satirize the inhabitants?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Grangerfords have a very well-furnished house. In Chapter 17, Huck describes their furniture as of "the latest style." They have spent a great deal of money on their furniture, and their dishes are also of high quality. Their house contains fine books and paintings, and they own a piano. The Grangerfords are a generous and well-mannered southern family. The satirical element of their story is that the Grangerfords are involved in a thirty-year deadly feud with their mortal enemies, the Shepherdsons. Despite the grandeur of their house and their belongings, they are so bent on hatred that when they learn that their daughter, Sophia, has run off to marry Harney Shepherdson, they chase after the couple with guns blazing. When Huck returns to the raft that night, he thinks, "there is no home as wonderful as a raft." He prefers the freedom of the raft to the comforts of the Grangerfords' house. 

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You may have already defined the true nature of the Grangerford family. They are a traditionalist, stubborn, anal-retentive, feuding, violent, and iron-clad family with little to no care for human life.

In their house, tackiness is king, and suggest to a point a hint of their bipolar behavior: Curtains with castles and cows, all things elaborately painted. In the same line, items are placed and organized in specific places as if trying to convey a message of comfort and normality. All that contrasts with the reality of the family, which involves enemies, violence, evil, tempers, and death.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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