Illustration of a man on a dock facing the water

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain
Start Free Trial

What was Twain trying to accomplish with the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons?

Expert Answers

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

The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons don't even remember why their feud started, yet their sense of "honor" dictates that they continue it, going as far as murdering members of the other clan. Twain clearly finds something deficient in these families.

What these families call chivalry is false pride; what they call...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons don't even remember why their feud started, yet their sense of "honor" dictates that they continue it, going as far as murdering members of the other clan. Twain clearly finds something deficient in these families.

What these families call chivalry is false pride; what they call honor is hatred. These families are not at all honorable; they misguidedly equate hatred with honor and murder with justice. The two families attend church together, carrying their firearms with them, while the minister preaches about love. The hypocrisy is plain to see for the reader, but it's clearly lost on the families involved. The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons hear the sermon and even discuss it on the way home, but the essence of the message clearly eludes them, because they go back to their feud. In the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, one might see Twain's condemnation of the false honor of the Southern way of life and of slavery. The church sermon holds the answer to the problem: love.

Go back and look for more evidence of this moral of the story of the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud. Add nuance and detail based on your own reading and analysis of the evidence in the pertinent passages.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team