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Huckelberry Finn - Analysis of Chapter 18

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Introduction

Chapter Eighteen 1. * Col. Grangerford and the rest of the Grangerford's are introduced in the text as a good, religious and well endowed family. * Readers are introduced to the concept of aristocracy - where the people are governed by the best citizens. * Informed that there is an ongoing feud between the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords, though no-one really knows why or how it originated. * Sophia gets Huck to go back to the Church to fetch her Testament for her. Huck becomes intrigued as Sophia made it seem very urgent. As a result, Huck discovers a secret note inside the book reading 'half-past two'. * Huck's 'nigger' convinces him to go down to the swamp and Huck complies and finds Jim and the raft waiting for him * Jim goes on to explain how he recovered the raft * Huck sees Buck and his cousin Joe being chased by the Shepherdsons. He discovers that Buck's father and brothers are all dead, as they went after the Shepherdsons when they found out that Sophia and Harney had run off together. ...read more.

Middle

As a direct consequence, readers are also positioned to see the family in a negative light. Family loyalty can be seen as a very prominent theme during this chapter. This drives the actions of the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons. Throughout the chapter it is reinforced that the Grangerfords at least have a strong religion, however this is contradicted by their violent actions. Twain is suggesting that just because, like a typical upper-middle class white family is expected, they go to Church every Sunday and believe themselves to be good Christians, does not make it so. Twain is shaping reader opinions to show that it is your actions that define someone's morals and not just adhering to the demands of society. Family is an obvious theme in the novel and can be identified through the families that Huck interacts with, most of which often feel inclined to adopt him. Huck, however, having never had a family who truly cared about him, tends to reject people who offer him family. This is evident when Huck stays at the Grangerford's home, as readers can see that no matter how long Huck stayed there, he never saw himself as a permanent member of the family and constantly kept an emotional barrier between himself and the Grangerfords. ...read more.

Conclusion

The values expressed in this chapter are not really relevant in today's society; however they do still apply in some situations. Most of the time, disputes are settled through courts and legal action is taken, rather than the violent actions that occurred in the text. Also attitudes toward the black population have changed dramatically, as they are no longer seen as being below the white population. Of course, racism still exists today, though not to the extent that it was in the novel. Black people now have the same rights as any other human being and racial prejudice is now illegal in most countries. I selected this chapter as I felt that the issues involved held considerable weight. Many of these themes are somewhat relevant in today's society and I felt that it would be important to explore these ideas. Many of these, such as family loyalty, slavery and religion were are central parts of Huck's society and it emphasized how different he was as he did not possess the same qualities as the rest of society. Through exploring this I felt I could better understand the journey Huck was on and what he was trying to achieve through it. ...read more.

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