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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain
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What are examples of satire of romanticism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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One of the more humorous satirical elements of Romanticism in the novel is the sinking of the Walter Scott , a Mississippi River steamboat. Sir Walter Scott was a famed Scottish Romantic writer, and by sending his namesake to the bottom of the Mississippi, Twain sends a clear message about...

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One of the more humorous satirical elements of Romanticism in the novel is the sinking of the Walter Scott, a Mississippi River steamboat. Sir Walter Scott was a famed Scottish Romantic writer, and by sending his namesake to the bottom of the Mississippi, Twain sends a clear message about where Scott's work belongs.

Another way that Twain satirizes Romanticism in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is through the poetry of Emmeline Grangerford. Her poem, "Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec'd" laments a boy who dies from falling down a well. It is written in a comically overwrought style that could arguably be considered a burlesque, or parody, of the work of noted Romantic Edgar Allan Poe. Emmeline Grangerford's poem is not unlike "Annabel Lee" and "The Raven"

And finally, the convoluted and unnecessary torture that Tom Sawyer forces Jim to endure at the Phelps farm calls to mind the work of Alexandre Dumas. Tom Sawyer's ideas about how Jim needs to be imprisoned call to mind The Man in the Iron Mask.

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A great example of Twain's satire of Romanticism comes in the shape of Tom Sawyer's "fancy" plan to free Jim the slave from the Phelps' place. Tom knows full well that Jim's already been freed under the provisions of Miss Watson's will. Yet he still goes ahead with his daring plan as it's a great opportunity for him to give expression to his vividly romantic imagination.

Like the arch-Romantic he is, Tom values feeling over reason, emotion over logic. If he stopped to think rationally, he wouldn't dream of carrying out such a dangerous, crazy scheme. But then, if Tom Sawyer ever stopped to think, he wouldn't be Tom Sawyer. And so Tom puts his cunning plan into effect, only to end up coming dangerously close to being killed. Twain appears to be suggesting, ever so slyly, that such reckless acts of romantic chivalry belong in storybooks, not in real life.

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Romanticism in literature assumed many forms.

Twain sets the stage for the entire novel with the "Notice" at the very beginning of the book. In announcing that readers "attempting to find a motive...moral...plot" in the book will be dealt with severely, Twain is mocking those who worked very hard to find or create such personally based factors in every piece of literature.

Romanticism featured the impressions of the world gained through a particular character's perceptions and experiences, frequently with the help of magic, visions, or dreams. Twain offers a satirical view of this type of approach when Huck asks Jim to use his hairball to learn of Pap's plans. "Jim had a hair-ball as big as your fist...and he used to do magic with it. He said there was a spirit inside of it, and it knowed everything."

Writings influenced by romanticism often reflected "growing suspicion of the established church." Jim's response to Huck's attempts to explain Old Testament stories such as the story of King Solomon and his wisdom were shaped by Twain's desire to satirize the church's teachings.

Blame de pint! I reck'n I knows what I knows. En mine you, de real pint is down furder-it's down deeper. It lays in de way Sollermun was raised. You take a man dat's got on'y one or two chillen; is dat man gwyne to be waseful o' chillen? No, he ain't; he can't 'ford it. He know how to value 'em. But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million chillen runnin' roun' de house, en it's diffunt. He as soon chop a chile in two as a cat. Dey's plenty mo'.

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