Illustration of a man on a dock facing the water

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

Start Free Trial

How does irony in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" contribute to the overall meaning of the story?

Expert Answers

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

I do not know that there is any one meaning to the story, but I think the main meaning (and the one that fits best with what you are asking) is this.  Twain is saying that society's values are all messed up at that time and place.  He is saying that in such a society, it is right for a person to go with his own gut feeling rather than with what society tells him.

That's where the irony comes in.  Huck's conscience (the part he's learned from society) is telling him that freeing Jim is wrong.  We know that that is totally backwards.  So the irony is showing how stupid the society's values are.

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