In Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” humor is used to great effect. An example of this can be seen in chapter 21, where Huck is staying with the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, two feuding families. When Huck inquires about the cause of their dispute, Buck Grangerford replies, “Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old folks; but they don’t know, now, what the row was about in the first place.” This absurdity of the feud’s origin is a classic example of Twain’s use of humor to mock the irrationality of society. Another example is found in chapter 16, where Huck deceives Jim into believing that their entire journey down the river was a dream. This scene emphasizes Jim’s naivety and Huck’s mischievousness. Additionally, the scene in chapter 32, where the Duke and the King perform their ridiculous Shakespearean play, is another classic example of Twain’s use of humor. The Duke and the King’s incompetence as actors, combined with their outrageous attempts to alter Shakespeare’s script, make for a humorous and absurd scene. Ultimately, Twain’s use of humor in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” serves to both entertain and criticize societal norms and customs. Through these humorous moments, Twain is able to expose the absurdity of certain aspects of society and comment on the human condition.
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