Bullying In Mark Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

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1. Twain sets the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery, but the book is not published until 1885, two decades after the end of the Civil War and slavery. What is the significance of the setting to the message of the story?
During the pre-Civil War era, tension was tearing the United States apart, especially on the debate of slavery. The setting in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn revolves around a South that was attempting to unify based on societal norms. In this sense, the southern community was bonded by their mutual interest in slavery, so much so that the phrase ‘the South’ nearly became synonymous with pro-slavery movements. This influence became so powerful that to go against what the community said was right was considered
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With a tough message to the story, some of the lies told in the story are to add comical relief, or to keep the reader interested. However, Twain uses lying in the story primarily to show how Huck views lying. In the beginning of the story, Huck lies because his friends lie as well, and a friendship is forged through storytelling. However, once Huck is placed into danger as he begins his adventure along the river, he uses lying to stay alive and keep Jim out of trouble. Huck found that though some of the lies he used to tell before (or even in the beginning) of the adventure were poorly constructed lies, but that in times of danger, “…Providence always did put the right words in [his] mouth if [he] left it alone”(32,226). Therefore, some lies that Huck tells are “good” while others are “bad”. Huck’s good lies come when Huck chooses Jim’s freedom over Huck’s own safety, and draws up lies to keep Jim out of trouble. Such lies include telling the police that his father smallpox, and that Jim was his own slave, so that the king and the duke could not sell him back into slavery. However, some lies that Huck tells are bad. Huck learns how people are individually affected by lies, and even condemns lying by saying, “I never see anything so disgusting,” when he witnesses how greatly the king and duke are able to toy with the mourners emotions through lies. Lying in the story is good when someone other than the liar benefits, but is bad when the lie is strictly sought to satisfy one

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