Dictionary.com defines satire as, the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. Satire was the idea behind Mark Twains book, Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain wrote this novel to mock mob mentality, greed, and hierocracy.
One target of Twains satire is mob mentality. In one scene the men in Bricksville try to lynch Colonel Sheburn, Colonel Sheburn saw that the town was getting ready to attack him, so he begins to give a speech saying The idea of you lynching anybody! Its amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! (161). In this speech Colonel Sheburn attacks the cowardice of the mob, for they dont have the courage to attack him one on one. In this scene Twain Depicts how people behave more drastically when they can hide behind a crowd. Also, in another scene the King and the Duke are impersonating the Wilkes brothers, so they can receive money from Peter Wilkse will, but the real Wilkes brothers end up showing up. The whole crowd starts to get exited yelling things like, Les duck em! Les drown em! Les Ride em on a rail!(221). In this scene, the crowd realizes that no harm can come to them, and were mad that somebody was trying to fool them so they wanted to hurt them.
Second, Mark Twain also Satirizes greed throughout this novel, and he does so by creating two characters who let greed control their lives, the King and the Duke. Twain shows greed in a scene where the king and the duke try to steal the Wilkes families fortune and property. The Duke wants to just take the gold and run, but the King says What! And not sell out the rest o property layin around jest sufferin to be scooped in (177). At this point the King no longer cares for the consequences, and tries to squeeze out every penny he can, and that leads to him eventually being caught. In another scene Huck cant seem to find Jim so he asks a boy if hes seen a runaway slave the boy says he has, but somebody nailed him, so Huck asks him who turned him in and the boy states it was an old fellow -a stranger- and he sold his chance for forty dollars (232). This scene shows how much of a hold greed has on the Kings and Dukes lives. They like money so much that they would turn in an acquaintance of theirs for a mere forty-dollar.
The final target of Twains satire is hierocracy. Hypocrisy is a theme that Twain has put emphasis on throughout the book. Hypocrisy can even be seen in the very begging of the novel with the Widow Douglas. After dinner, Huck wants to go outside and smoke but the Widow tells him that smoking is a dirty practice. Even though she did snuff, which is snorting tobacco (4). The widow is basically doing the same thing as Huck, but Huck feels that the Widow is right because she is more educated and civilized than him. Another example of Hypocrisy is the Sheperdsons and the Grangerfords. The Sheperdsons have a feud with the Grangerfords for a reason that nobody could recall. Because of the feud, the families carry their weapons everywhere
Even to church (121). The Sheperdsons and Grangerfords claim to be good people, but they take their guns to a sermon which is ironically about brotherly love.
In this novel, Mark Twain shows human flaws be ridiculing the extremes of each flaw. Whether its something small like greed or hierocracy twain makes a point to the reader by creating a character that pushes the limits. Mark twain doesnt mean to offend anybody with his novel, but he wants people to see that nobodys perfect and we all have flaws.