Thursday, November 13, 2014

Huck Finn - Discussion #3 Chapters 17-19 (Due Friday, November 14)

Answer the following questions in the comments section.  Your answer should be at least 3 paragraphs in length.

In these chapters 17-19, how does Mark Twain portray “civilized society” (The Grangerfords, The Shepherdsons)?  Find some specific examples (quotes) of where it appears he is criticizing the moral aristocracy (or those who pretend to be a part of this group, e.g., the king and the duke).  What are some common themes that you notice?  For example, are there particular issues that he seems particularly critical of?  What does Huck think of these people?  Does he buy into their socioeconomic or moral superiority?

*your writing must include claims, evidence, and warrants*

20 comments:

  1. Mark Twain portrays "civilized society in both the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons but mainly in the Grangerfords. The Grangerfords are portrayed as a "civil society" because they have the seven characteristics of it; Authority, Food, water and agriculture, safety and protection, trade, goods, societal roles, and basic freedoms. Twain criticizes the moral aristocracy of the Grangerfords a lot but not necessarily in a bad way. In fact, I think he makes the Grangerfords sound very good, complementing them and their way of life a lot through Huck's character." Grangerford was a gentleman, you see. He was a gentleman all over; and so was his family" (108). Twain even makes the Shepherdsons sound good. " There was another clan of artiocracry around there- mostly made up of the name of Shepherdson. They was as high-toned and well born and rich and grand as the tribe of Grangerfords" (110).
    Common themes that I have noticed is the fact that each of these "civilized society" groups seem to be full of brave and courageous young men and their leaders who dislike each other, like the Grangerfords and the Shepherdson's. I think Huck doesn't really hate or dislike these people, i think he actually really likes them as individuals but I think he doesn't really understand their morals and their way of life. For example, Huck didn't seem to understand the feud the two groups had and it seemed he thought it was kind of unnecessary and weird considering he didn't even know what a feud meant. Huck isn't really opposed to their socioeconomic but I think he isn't really comfortable entirely with it since he group in a more different society where he had no rules, morals or expectations he had to live up to unlike buck for example who is expected to carry on the family feud and ends up dying because of this.

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    1. I thought the feud between the families was a little over the top, but it was also a different time than what we live in now.

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    2. I like your last point because it does make sense that the only reason Buck has so much anger towards the Shepardsons is because that is what his family has taught him.

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  2. Mark Twain portrays the civilized society through the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons. He explains in detail the qualities of the Grangerfords that make them civilized society such as their rich home and many slaves as well as their great food. He criticizes the moral aristocracy when he is told about their fued, "what did he do to you?'
    'Him? He never done nothin to me'
    'Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?"(111). in this quote, Huck questions about why the families want to kill one another when the fued was so long ago, what is the point of killing people who have done nothing to you but only to your ancestors? He has a moral issue with this and doesn't understand how a family like that would have a disagreement like this for no reason. A common theme is that the families are extremely similar in structure and have elders who hate each other and courageous younger men who really have nothing to fight for other than the fued itself. Huck thinks of these people as great people who are stuck in a deadly fued, at least that's how it seems to me. He doesn't necessarily oppose what they are doing he thinks they have a reason he just doesn't undersand it himself and so he cannot buy into it himself.

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    1. If you were Huck, would you tell the Grangerfords about what happened with Sophia Grangerford?

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    2. I think these two families are crazy and should stop killing each other.

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  3. Mark Twain portrays civilized society when Huck meets the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons. He goes into detail when Huck sees a proper home for the first time in the novel, describing the amount of slaves they own, how beautiful the house is, and in some cases the poems.
    Mark Twain criticizes moral aristocracy when Huck talks to Buck about their feud with the Shepardsons. Buck's response "He never done nothing to me"(111) after Huck asks why he wanted to kill Harney clearly illustrates that Buck is only feuding with the Shepardsons to gain acceptance from his family and to be a bigger or more important part of them. Frequent themes that appear are that each household is lead by a older generation with feelings of aggression and anger towards the others while the younger generation is doing all the killing and the violence for the older ones. Its as if the younger generation are puppets while the older generation are pulling the strings and creating the anarchy.
    I think Huck neither dislike nor liked the families. While he appreciated what they did for him he sees no point in their family feud because they are fighting for something that occurred generations ago and also that he doesn't fully grasp the concept of the meaning of the word "feud".
    Huck doesn't believe in their moral superiority mostly because he was raised in a different environment where he didn't have to prove himself to his family unlike the children of the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons where they have to be a part in the feud in order to gain acceptance.

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    1. i think huck is wise to see that their feud is now pointless

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  4. In chapters 17-19, Mark Twain portrays "civilized society" to be played through the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons. These two families are aristocratic and have a feud with each other. They are both very civilized, but have problems when it comes to their feud. Huck says, "Col. Grangerford was a gentleman, you see. He was a gentleman all over; and so was his family" (Twain, 108). He also says, "They was as high toned and well born and rich and grand as the tribe of Grangerfords" (Twain, 110). The families are wealthy and well-mannered, but are over the top with their problems. The king and the duke that Huck and Jim meet as they were leaving the town, are not really who they say they are, as of what Huck says. Twain portrays them to be criminals who are secretly royalty, which is ironic. They say that it makes them feel better when they get treated well, "better for a while if people treated him according to his rights" (Twain, 127). Twain shows a role that is played to be made out as a criminal, but is secretly royalty, and yet is not even royalty. This shows irony, as well as discrimination, because people only see the bad and judge immediately, but if they saw them as a king or duke, they would act completely different, like Jim and other African Americans.
    The themes in these chapters are related to morality and ethics, lies, religion, man in a natural world, and family. All these apply in chapters 17-19. The Grangerfords and Shepardsons have their disputes as two different but very much alike families. The "king and duke" that Jim and Huck meet lied about being royalty just so they can be treated like it. Also, Huck lies to the Grangerford family about his whole life. Twain puts Huck into a "new" family which represents Huck leaving his real family and meeting many families on his journey. Huck and Jim are swimming in chapter 19 which represents a man in the natural world, "Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up and cool down" (Twain, 120).
    Huck's opinion of the two families was that they were very nice, sophisticated people. Huck liked hanging out with Buck Grangerford, even though Huck lied to them about his story. Huck didn't understand the families' feud but he also didn't know what a feud was until buck told him. Huck realized very quickly that the families were a little crazy when it came to that. Huck started feeling guilty when Sophia Grangerford asks Huck to go get her journal from Church, and when Huck did, there was a note that he saw. Sophia ended up running away to marry a Shepardson and Huck feels as if it was his fault in giving her the journal. Huck does not buy into their socioeconomic superiority because he has never lived in that lifestyle before. He has been living in freedom with Jim and with the nature, so he doesn't quite understand how to live like the families did.


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    1. What is "morally right in this time period"?

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    2. 3:16 am Really Riley Come on girl. Go to

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  5. Twain portrays "civilized society" using 2 families, Shepardsons and Grangerfords that have a feud that has been going on for 30 years. Twain shows how ridiculous that is by using Hucks comment of "What did you want to kill him for?" after Buck explained to him what a feud was. Twain however did make both families seem good as well when it was stated that there was "no cowards on either side". Also, when the Grangerfolds were so nice to Huck when he arrived and the entire time he stayed at their home. The Shepardsons "was as high-toned and well born and rich as the tribe of Grangerfords but that and the feud couldn't stop the fact that Miss Sophia and Harney Shepardson fell in love so they decided to run away. This is another example for how the family problems were affecting the younger members even more and of course when Buck dies, it clearly shows Twain statement that the feud should have stopped a long time ago. Overall Huck liked the Grangerfolds and got close to Buck so when he died, of course he felt bad and wanted to leave immediately.

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    1. i like that you mentioned how the older peoples feud was affecting the newer generation negatively.

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  6. Mark Twain portrays "civilized society" through the Stepardsons and Grangerfords. These two families are aristocrats and have a feud going on with each other. the Stepardsons are a nice to Huck and are civilized to society because they are very wealthy and have a lot of slaves. They are aristocrats and they will kill another family just to stay the "highest" and "wealthiest" family around.
    "what did he do to you?'
    'Him? He never done nothin to me'
    'Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?"(111). This quote shows that their is no personal reason for killing a Grangerford, its just a matter of the Shepardsons being better than than the Grangerfords. There is no real reason for this Feud to be still going on, it started a long time ago and their is no need for it to keep going. Huck thinks its all stupid and that these people are a little crazy. He does not agree with this idea of moral superiority and that these families should stop trying to kill each other. The other question or concern is what is ones definition of a "civilized society"?

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  7. Mark Twain portrays civilized society in the Gragerfords and the Shepardsons. The Gragerfords demonstrated a civilized society by, "they all went in a big parlor that had a huge rag carpet on the floor" (Twain 100). This quote shows how the Gragerfords are civilized by having a modern house and ways to protect themselves. The Shepardsons show civilization by not wanting to kill the Granderfords as much as they do. A theme i noticed during these chapters was the conflict between society and nature. Twain portrays civilization being worse for human nature rather then improving it. Huck spends most of his time out on the Mississippi river with Jim.He is exploring the nature side of life. When Huck and Jim stop at the Granderfords house he explores the society part by entering their home and eating with them. After realizing the hate between the two families, Huck is critical on how they act. Huck thinks both families are ornery and disrespectful. Especially when they brought the guns to church. I believe that Huck does not buy into the families socioeconomic or moral superiority. When he noticed most of the Granderford family dead, he quickly escaped that area and went back to the river with Jim.

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  8. Mark Twain portrays "civilized society" through the Shepardsons and Grangerfords. In chapter 17 Huck is brought into the Grangerfords house when his raft is hit by a passing steamboat. Both family's are very civilized and very rich Huck says "They was as high toned and well born and rich and grand as the tribe of Grangerfords" (Twain, 110). talking about the Shepardsons. Twain portrays them as a high class Family that have hated each other for over 30 years.But they don't know why they hated each other. The Stepardsons killed bucks 14 year old cousin and they retaliated by killing one of the shepardsons. It says that the Shepardsons don't really want to kill the Grangerfords but the Grangerfords want to kill them.
    A common theme i saw was the conflict between nature and civilized society. Huck likes living in nature with no rules or responsibilities. Twain portrays Civilized society as a bad place compared to nature and that society is tearing the world apart pretty much. Huck seems to like the Nature life better than the society life.
    Huck thinks that these people are kind of messed up killing each other for no particular reason. Huck seems to like the nature life better than the society life because in nature huck could do what ever he wants and not have to worry about anything but in the society life he has to worry about getting killed by another family he doesn't even know.

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  9. Mark Twain seems to think himself progressive but sometimes it feels like hes voicing some of his ignorance through Huck. For example most of the time Twain gives Huck a personality that contradicts slavery and at the same times portrays them as a simpler people than the whites. But when you look deep into the story the civilized characters are either ignorant or trying to cause problems while "less civilized characters" like Jim are more pure of heart and just trying to make their way in the world.

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  10. Mark Twain portrays the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons by showing how rich and interested in art they are. Twain also shows how barbaric there civilized society is. Innocent kids, men and women dying over a family feud that no one knows how it started. If one sides kills another, it results in the other side taking one of there life.
    Twain criticizes the moral aristocracy" Next Sunday we all went to church, about three mile, everybody a -horseback. The men took their guns along,so did Buck, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall. The Shepherdsons done the same"(Twain129). Huck is confused that both family have brought guns into a holy place where there shouldn't be violence. He called it "roughest Sundays I had run across yet.

    An issue I have noticed is the bloodshed that has been going on for centuries that no one really knows why. No humans should be born into the fact of hating a person, especially for no reason. Huck sees theses people as crazy uncivilized beings. During the bloodshed of when Buck and them die, Huck had faked his death and continued his journey with Jim. Clearly, he does not buy into their socioeconomic or moral superiority.

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  11. In Huck Finn by Mark Twain civilized society is shown to be very violent and mischievous. He shows this through the feud between the Gangerfords and Shepherdsons, and also through the characters of the King and Duke. In this society a feud seems to be a normal thing in which every once in awhile someone is killed for no reason other than that their past generations had a problem with each other. The feud takes over all parts of their life and even extends to church in which they say “Next Sunday we all went to church, about three mile, everybody a-horseback. The men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall.” The feud was so serious they brought guns into a church and no one said anything about it. This shows how society differed from society today and how very violent it was.
    Another show to how society was is the characters Duke and King. They are mischievous characters who are constantly lying and trying to scam people out of money and their belongings. A prime example of this is when they go to the religious meeting and the King scams them out of a lot of money by pretending to be a ex pirate who wants to go help other pirates get back into society. During this Huck does nothing and lets them get away with the whole thing. This shows how society was just willing to sit back and watch. Also how gullible people were to a sob story at a religious meeting.
    During both of these events Huck accepts them at normal because he either doesn’t know better or just believes that this is how it is. He accepts that the feud is a normal thing and doesn’t question when he is told about it he just allows it to continue. He also accepted the Duke and King as being who they said they were later he came around to what happened but he helped them and allowed them to do some not so good things because he accepted society as what he saw on the surface. Huck through these things adopts their morals because he himself has a low sense of morality so he accepts these things as right.

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