Regionalism and Humor in Huck Finn Essay

This essay has a total of 2085 words and 8 pages.

Regionalism and Humor in Huck Finn



Effective message through dialect, regionalism, and humor in Mark Twain’s
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Some writers use dialect, regionalism, and humor in their literary works to enhance their
themes. Mark Twain’s ability to write in the vernacular allows him to capitalize on humor
and dialect. In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the author
conveys an effective message through dialect, regionalism, and humor in southern culture.

“No one in the early days of Clemens’ fame would have argued against the assertion that he
emerged to prominence as a literary comedian, or as the phrase had it, ‘funny man’”(Blair
19). Mark Twain brought about a joy to a reader that no other could. In his own time he
was known all over the world for his humor and other literary techniques. “In short, Mark
Twain who emerges from this study is a man of letters practicing his art, a humorist who
knows what he is doing and making the most of his materials”(Ferguson 243).

Twain first got his fame by being a literary comedian. But him being a southwestern
humorist, his writing also flourished in the use of local color. Twain did not only
contribute comedy to his writing but also an appreciation of what he had to offer (Blair
25). “Twain was known in California as the wild humorist of the Sage Brush Hills”
(Encyclopedia Britannica 76). Twain was not only a comedian in his literary works, but
also in his speaking and his way of looking at life. He [Twain] was known all over the
world for his humor and his ability to bring humor into any situation. “Mark Twain, in
short, was a personality that could not help but be a humorist, as a literary artist whose
work was channeled by such currents, could not help but be an American humorist” (Blair
25). Humor plays a definite role in each of Twain’s works.

Mark Twain’s humor is definitely intentional and serves a definite purpose throughout the
novel. American humor is found throughout the whole novel. The laughter is so
spontaneous and free of bitterness that the reader often forgets the human existence that
Huck contemplates. The novel flows with humor from the joy of life being found living on
a raft (Marx 8, 9). Twain’s experiences enable him to tell the story in a funny yet
eloquent way, therefore bringing the reader a feeling that no other author could possibly
bring to a reader. People have forgotten that no man is all humor, and also have failed to
remember that every man is a humorist.

‘“The quality of humor,” Mr. Clemens went on hurriedly – for him – “is the commonest thing
in the world. I mean the perceptive quality of humor. In this sense every man in the
world is a humorist. The creative quality of humor – the ability to thro a humorous cast
over a set of circumstances that before had seemed colorless is, of course, a different
thing. But every man in the world is a perceptive humorist…”’(Thomas 2).


In Twain’s writing, Huck is put between two discourses between Jim and Tom. This anxiety
that is formed makes the style of Huckleberry Finn a transformation. This style reflects
Twain as a writer and humorist (Schmitz 47). Humor is the most common thing in the world.
Everyman is a humorist in his own way and humor brings something special to a situation
(Thomas 1). Twain was “…essentially all his life long, he was a teller of humorous
anecdotes in the manner of southwestern humorists usually in a framework of description or
narration” (Blair 24). Twain displays his exquisite niche with literary humor through his
many works in that he displays a great craftsmanship.

The usage of many different literary techniques is evident through the novels of Mark
Twain. The language of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is what brings out the humor in
the book. The language, which required experience, turned to humor as Twain’s elaborate
novel unfolds (Cox 6257). Phrases such as “I was a-listenin’ to all de talk” illustrates
the method and the language that Twain uses throughout the novel (Twain 137). Deceit is
also found in humor by Twain by making “Jim the wrench, this sudden turn, that takes
Huckleberry Finn out of one humorous mode into another, one not yet mapped or charted,
from simple to serious humor” (Schmitz 51). Twain uses his own thought and a technique as
well as he uses other techniques. “Many passages show that he turned to the same
materials as did the earliest humorist, looking at these materials with the same
attitudes, and using the same patterns and methods” (Blair 23). “The picaresque method –
the method with emphasis upon anecdotal narrative – developed in Southwestern humor was
the art which he [Twain] could best appreciate and employ” (Blair 24). Twain uses his own
ways throughout the novel. He speaks in the novel as someone who has met and interacted
with in the past. Many thought him to be a clown, but he was far from that writing one of
the greatest novels filled with humor (Parrington 186, 187). Twain uses various
techniques including the American society itself. Twain took the initiative to poke fun
at the American society, and by taking this chance he became the most famous people of
American literature. He used every class of society and created a special humor for each
class. Because of this he is considered one of the greatest and noblest authors of all
time (Mecken 67-71). Twains ability to capitalize on a weakness allowed him to create
many humorous works using society and its surroundings.

Mark Twain used the narrator as a person to poke fun at and to bring about a heavy
dialect, which creates extremely humorous person. “Having been encouraged by the
contemporary appeal for local color, Twain quickly developed a character with heavy
dialect...” (Budd 2328). Huck Finn, the narrator, causes many conflicts throughout the
book, with his actions, beliefs, and through his means of communication. Huck’s dialect
creates humor and southern vernacular. The vernacular that each character presents
controls the mind of the reader. Twain uses Huck’s diction to bring out the best parts of
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Cox 6259). Huck’s diction is evident when he states,
“House was jammed again that night, and we sold this crowd the same way” (Twain 224).
The vernacular that each character presents controls the mind of the reader and allows the
reader to become more involved in the story. Huck’s familiar speech is spoken around us
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