Illustration of a man on a dock facing the water

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

Start Free Trial

What do dialect patterns in the novel reveal about American society in the pre-Civil War period in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A dialect is a given style and pattern of word use and pronunciation among a specific part of a population.  In the pre-Civil War period (also called the Antebellum period), American society was static.  That is to say, people didn't move around much, and rarely traveled very far from home.

So the dialects from say, Alabama, or Missouri, or Georgia or Virginia were much more distinct than they are today.  The language had not been blended with the dialects of outsiders, or soldiers, or a more mobile people like we have today, so they were also much more recognizable at the time.  You would know a Georgia accent when you heard it.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial