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|Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain whose birth name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens was a brilliant author who dominated the writing scene in the late 18th century and early 19th century. His way of writing was distinctive at the time as he incorporated elements such as satire to captivate his audience. He wrote many classical English literature masterpieces that are read worldwide up to date.
It is vital to note that at the time Mark Twain was writing his books the United States was undergoing a transformation as the civil war had just ended. There were many social injustices cases which he felt should be addressed. As such, Most of the books written by Mark Twain looked at how people within a community interacted with each other. The books clearly brought out the social struggles the country was facing. Consequently, we can say that Mark Twain was a social activist trying to wipe out moral decay in his community via his novels.
Firstly, if we look at his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn he comically brings out the issue of a slave which is a social injustice and a moral decay. He highlights the plight of the blacks during that period. At the time the Jim Crow's law was effected in the Southern United States and it affected the black. To teach against this social injustice the author uses Jim a character in the book, who was a black household slave for Mrs Watson. He had just fled. Mrs Watson is not concerned with the fact that Jim has a family. This is a social injustice and unfair to Jim. Jim though a slave is compassionate and acts as a father figure to both Tom and Huck. Here the author shows us that humanity is not embedded in the racial status of an individual but on his deeds. Thus, Mark Twain is a social activist trying to enlighten his community of moral decay through his stories.
Secondly, in his book the adventure of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain shows us how the social practices hypocrisy leading to the decay of morals. The adults of St Petersburg pride themselves as being a civilized, close-knit family who goes to the church. They abide by a specific moral code which is supposed to be emulated by the children. But this is not the case, as they do not practice what they preach. A good example is Aunt Polly. She finds Tom hidden in the closet with jam around his mouth (Twain, Smith & Griffin, 2012). Tom had stolen the Jam and Aunt Polly was to punish him for his deviant behaviour. Tom has been found by Aunt Polly more than once making a mistake but he is let to walk scot free. Mark Twain has shown as the hypocrisy as Tom is seen breaking the rules but she is not punishing him. She always ends up giving him a lesser punishment. It is her duty as an adult to punish Tom so that he can be a law-abiding citizen. As such she is not true to her word. Aunt Polly uses her tricks to catch Tom as such not showing a nice precedent to Tom. (Twain, Smith & Griffin, 2012)
Judge Thatcher through his office is supposed to be principled and work towards the common good of the community. In contrast, he is easily persuaded by the antics of Tom and evens suggest that he can be a good lawyer. Consequently, Mark Twain as a social activist was trying to illuminate the adults on the moral decay of hypocrisy and its effects on their children.
In conclusion, Mark Twain was an excellent writer and a social activist who strived to positively correct the social shortcoming of his community. Racism was and is still a major issue all over the world. Mark Twain has shown us that race does not matter. What is of importance is our action towards each other. He has further shown us that it is up to the adults to guide the children. What is amazing is that he used satire to communicate the moral decay which was eating up his community. If all these societal aspects he brought up can be adhered to, then it enables us to interact freely.
Twain, M., Smith, H., & Griffin, B. (2012). Autobiography of Mark Twain. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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