What are some examples of satire in chapter 12 of Huck Finn?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Huck and Jim floated down the river, one of Huck's nightly errands was a visit to a village along the river to find some food for the journey. Huck had some money and could purchase food with that change. He also found food in other ways.

Huck's Pap had told Huck

take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you don't want him yourself you can easy find somebody that does, and a good deed ain't ever forgot. I never see pap when he didn't want the chicken himself, but that is what he used to say, anyway.

Twain is using satire to comment on how easily people can make excuses for the things they do, such as stealing a chicken for their own use.

Huck also took produce from farm fields they passed. He and Jim remembered being told by Pap that it was allowable "to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay them back, sometime" but they also remembered the Widow Douglas calling such an action outright stealing. After discussion, they decided

to pick out two or three things...and say we wouldn't borrow them any more...So we talked it over all one night...and concluded to drop crabapples and p'simmons...I was glad the way it come out, too, because crabapples ain't ever good, and the p'simmons wouldn't be ripe for two or three months yet.

The satire in this passage refers to the serious debate about what items they should stop stealing, with the decision being that they would stop stealing two foods that they wouldn't have taken anyway. But having decided to not "borrow" those things, they then felt "comfortable" taking other, more desirable foods.


Read the study guide:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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