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HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Jason Matthews The dominant tone of this work is satire. Twain pokes fun at many of the aspects of Southern life in the 19th century (including slavery and feuds), and several characters as well. His fiery attitude about the ills of society shows itself from the first page of this book. I think that one of the main themes in this novel is the conflict between the society's "good" and "bad". Huck believed that a person was "good" if they were educated, well read, religiously trained, and had the ability to follow rules. This, of course, is not the true nature of "goodness", and a key element in Twain's satire. In fact, Huck, who is one of the only good characters in the novel, believes good is based on the elements of dangers which face him every day, and due to this dicotomy, does not believe he is "good". This becomes painfully evident when Huck meets the Gregfords. The Gregfords are an obvious simile for pure evil. Though they have a temporal glow to them, after all, they are rich and aristocratic. However their misdeeds flow contrary to society's label of "good" . He labels them as "good", though after he hears their story behind their feud, he realizes that they are not quite as good as he had believed. This shows the tumultuous journey between the "good" and "evil" occuring in Huck's mind. The most clear occasion of this is when Huck dresses as a girl to steal things from the neighborhood store. On a metaphorical level, this shows Twain's alternate sexual preference (Freud pointed this out in "The Human Mind, Second Edition") -- he is living vicariously through his creations. Twain uses the visage of Huck as a girl to ameliorate it against the society's "evil" perspective, in an attempt to popularize these acts. The bifurcation between his personal "good" and society's "good" is a key point in the book, and a universal theme which is best observed in this scene. Another important scene which goes along with this same theme was the scene with Huck Finn and his gang in the cave in the end of the second chapter. Huck pretends to be an expert at the operations of gangs of that nature, because he had read a lot of books on it, but it turns out that he is actually a phony. Though Isaac Hayes speaks out against him, Tom Sawyer quickly silences him and greets the other gang members. This shows how Tom idolized Huck and acted as the broomstick which held up his iron curtain. This is another clear example of Twain's theme of "good" versus "evil". This scene also applies to the theme of society's "good" versus evil in broad sense. Huck secretly detested Tom (the symbol of society's "good"), as Twain secretly detested society's norms and accepted "good". "As diverse as Twain's tastes were, Society's stingency was inversely proportional" said Freud. Tom's gang trusted him merely because he had read a lot of books and spoke persuasively, just as society trusted Twain because he was outspoken and fit (through their eyes, at least) their ideas of "good". When, in the end of the book, Huck is stuck on the raft with his father, Twain's true feelings about his own father are revealed. As Huck plunges the dagger for the final time into his father's soggy chest, a heavy burden is lifted off Huck and Twain both. Twain's father was very abusive, beating heim and his little sister often. Twain would provoke his father so that he would recieve the beatings, sparing his sister pain and suffering. In the same way, Huck covers for Jimmy the escaped slave with whom Huck lives and sails. He takes criticism and humiliation as well as a loss of freedom to keep Jimmy from being captured. This selfless act of generosity parallels Twain's personal feelings. This book truly captures the spirit of giving and generosity, while telling a humorous story in the process.