What is Sherburn's attitude toward the men who are attempting to lynch him? What do you think Twain's attitude is toward the townspeople?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sherburn is contemptuous of the people who are trying to lynch him. In Chapter 22, Twain writes:

Then he says, slow and scornful:

“The idea of you lynching anybody! It's amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you're brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man's safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it's daytime and you're not behind him."

Even though Sherburn has killed a man in cold blood, the fact that he stands up to the mob demonstrates he has no respect for country justice. 

"The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all apart, and went tearing off every which way."

This episode also illustrates Twain's contempt for the lack of justice in country towns. The man Sherburn killed was the town drunk and Sherburn is a member of the town's elite. Twain is illustrating the idea that there seems to be no justice for the weaker members of society.

Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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