“THEN THE COUSINS CHIP IN--
AND BY-AND-BY EVERYBODY’S KILLED OFF”
Mark Twain uses satire to lessen the seriousness of the issues presented in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. While the title makes the reader believe the story to be the “adventures of Huck Finn”, Mark Twain, by using satire to lighten and lampoon, brings attention to “civilized society” and issues of racism.
When one thinks of “civilized society”, a picture of cultured and educated people sitting in a parlor with white gloves, drinking Earl Gray Tea comes to mind. Throughout the beginning half of the book, Huck realizes how truly un-civilized the society of that time was. In the following quote Mark Twain makes a deadly family feud something that one finds funny to read. When Huck is caught in the middle of a family feud he asks Buck (the young boy in the family he is staying with) what a feud is.
“‘Why, where was you raised? Don’t you know what a feud is?’
‘Never heard of it before-tell me about it’
‘Well’ says Buck, ‘a feud is this way. A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another, then the cousins chip in-and by-and-by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time.’
‘Has this one been going on long, Buck?’
‘Well I should reckon! It started thiry year ago, or som’ers along there. There was troubles ‘bout something and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit-which he would naturally do, of course. Anybody would.’
‘What was the trouble about, Buck?–Land?’ ‘I recon maybe-I don’t know’
‘Well, who done the shooting?-Was it a Grangerford or a Shepherdson?’
‘Laws, how do I know? It was a long time ago.’“ (127-128)
Within the first few pages of the book, racism is easily detected as one of the major issues. When Huck hurts poor Jim’s feelings, Mark Twain lightens up the issue again by using humor.
“It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up ... to go and…