Two sections which Twain added when he resumed the novel:Chapters XVII & XVIII: the feudbetween the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons- and -Chapters XIX – XXI: the king and the duke
Key Literary Concepts: Satire: Twain criticizes the extreme family honor code of the “genteel,” “Christian” (deep ) South. These two chapters contain humor, but are also serious and sad. Twain parodies the tacky interior decorating of the Grangerfords. Twain parodies the poetry of the melancholy, morbid Emmeline, the sentimental romantic poetess who was obsessed with death. Twain satirizes religious hypocrisy (which Huck does not seem to notice, e.g., feuding families taking guns into the same church on Sundays and listening to a sermon together— the sermon which Huck hears he says is “pretty ornery preaching—all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness.” Then there’s the Romeo and Juliet type story of Sophia and Harney. Young Buck Grangerford is killed. Humor mixed with tragedy. Foil Character: a foil character “stands alongside” the protagonist to whom he/she is similar in some particulars and to some degree. For example, foil characters are usually the same gender, the same age, and have similar circumstances of family, life problems, or experience. The point of creating foil characters is to accentuate their differences in character against a background of similarities. Who is Huck’s foil character– i.e., the foil to Huck— in Chapters 17 & 18? His first name rhymes with Huck. How are they obviously alike. What differences in character/morals stand out against the background similarities?
The Grangerford-Shepherdson feudon the Kentucky-Tennessee border was modeled on the historical Darnell-Watson feud The Grangerfords live in Kentucky. (The Shepherdsons may live either in Kentucky or Tennessee, but certainly live west across the river, a natural boundary between feuding families.) The Grangerfords and the Shepherdsonsare Calvinist Christians with rifles, dogs, horses, slaves and farms. Huck greatly admires almost everything about the Grangerfords and their home, but Twain is satirizing them. What specific things about culture in the antebellum (pre-Civil War) South is Twain satirizing? Does he use: irony? parody? Huck’s dead-pan literal delivery? Does even Huck himself seem to express criticism about— or a violent gut reaction against— anything in particular about any particular Grangerford’s actions, activities or fate?
The feud or vendetta A vendetta, once characteristic of Scottish clans and Corsican families and associated with the part of the country including Kentucky. The names of the rival families in Huck Finn —the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons— Suggest the long competition on the American frontier between farmers and herders; there is also the biblical prototype in the conflict between Cain the granger and Abel the first shepherd, which resulted in the first murder in Western history.
What details of Huck’s description of the Grangerford home does Huck admire?What is Twain really making fun of in the mode called satire?
Parents:Col. Saul Grangerford & Rachel: Children: Bob Tom Three more sons, all killed Charlotte Sophia Emmeline (in the graveyard)* Buck (13 or 14 years old; foil character to Huck) each family member with his/her own n****r * [What activity did Emmeline do which Twain parodies?]
What kind of poetry does EmmelineGrangerford write and what kind of pictures did she draw? What was her favorite subject matter? What did the neighbors mean by: “the doctor first, then Emmeline, then the undertaker”? What does Huck think of Emmeline’s poetry and drawings? Here is a case where, at times, Huck’s judgment agrees with Twain’s or unintentionally gives a reason– in his literal and dead-pan manner-- to criticize Emmeline’s art, even though Huck persists in praising it, at least faintly. Examples of Huck praising the art which Twain is mocking with great pleasure as a humorist: “They was all nice pictures, I reckon, but I didn’t somehow seem to take to them,… they always give me the fan-tods.” (1314-15)—damning with faint praise and “Buck said she could rattle off poetry like nothing. She didn’t ever have to stop to think.” (1316) But there are also instances of pure IRONY: Huck says of the poetry written in Emmeline’s scrap-book: “It was very good poetry.” Then Twain gives his parody of morbid graveyard and obituary poetry popularized by Julia A. Moore (1847-1920) in Twain’s time. The parody is titled “Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d”
Twain thought that the Southern gentlemanderived from Sir Walter Scott’s “maudlin Middle-Age romanticism”.Col. Saul Grangerford is a clear example of this manly, morbid, military mentality. Others attribute the manners and codes of the Southern gentleman more to a general “military fever” in the South.
Huck will run an errand for Miss Sophia. He will wonder later if he caused the deaths of Buck, his father and brothers, and some Shepherdsons. Huck seems to leave dead bodies in his path. Is he the Angel of Death?
The “duke”—really a journeyman printer turned to various scams for making much more money more quickly than a common printer ever could—embodies the instinct in man to gain distinction, to be special and superior in relations with other men—a primitive selfishness which Twain blamed for much folly, cruelty, and injustice in human history, filled with kings and priests scamming the “common man” with claims to rights, including Divine Right and “God speaking through” them.
Twain satirizing a “created” title:Duke or Earl of Bridgewater And a specific man: Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater, a very eccentric fellow who fed dogs at his table, etc. And the notion that some people are superior by “birth” or “blood” or “race,” and should be served by the rest
Earl of Bridgewater is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of England. The holders of the second creation also held the title of Duke of Bridgewater from 1720 to 1803. Francis Egerton, the final Duke of Bridgewater, is famously known as the Canal Duke, for his creation of a series of canals in North West England.
Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (11 November 1756 – 11 February 1829), known as Francis Egerton until 1823, was a noted Britisheccentric, and supporter of natural theology.He was a son of John Egerton, Bishop of Durham and Anne Sophia Grey. His maternal grandparents were Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Kent and his second wife Sophia Bentinck. Sophia was a daughter of William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland and Anne Villiers. Anne was a daughter of Sir Edward Villiers and his first wife Frances Howard. She was also a sister of Edward Villiers, 1st Earl of Jersey.Egerton was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, and became fellow of All Souls in 1780, and Fellow of the Royal Society in 1781. He inherited his title and a large fortune in 1823.Egerton was known for giving dinner parties for dogs, where the dogs were dressed in the finest fashions of the day, down to fancy miniature shoes. Each day Egerton wore a new pair of shoes and he arranged the worn shoes into rows, so that he could measure the passing time. An animal lover, Egerton kept partridges and pigeons with clipped wings in his garden, allowing him to shoot them despite failing eyesight. Egerton never married, and upon his death, his title became extinct. He was buried at Little Gaddesden.He bequeathed to the British Museum the valuable Egerton Manuscripts, consisting of 67 manuscripts dealing with the literature of France and Italy
The “king” almost immediately calls the “duke” “Bilgewater”. Bilgewater is the disgustingly foul and noxious water which collects in the bottom of a ship’s “bilge” or hull. This is a good example of the king acting from an instinct for competition and an impulse to belittle and insult anyone acting superior. He likes to be in the spotlight as the admired man who has what others don’t—who has something that they are willing to bow down to, serve, or, even better, pay money to see, touch, be near, or own. Should we hate or despise this old vagrant who does what he does in order to survive in the context of this world, or should we pity him?
Mark Twain uses the “king” and the “duke” as representatives of the plague of pseudoscientists, sham-healers, medical “quacks”, charlatans, foney preachers, and scam artists who plagued Europe and America in his time: Mesmerists Phrenologists Spiritualists Healers Peddlars of Patent Medicines
What scams do the king and the duke tell each other that they engage in to make a living? The KING (70 + years old): [vagabond] Temperance revivals laying on of hands Doctoring (for cancer and paralysis) Preaching (missionarying, camp-meetings) The DUKE (30 years old): [jour printer] slinging lectures mesmerism theatre-acting (histrionics) phrenology singing-geography school patent medicines dissipating witch-spells finding water and gold with “divining rod”
Do Huck and Jim really believe these guys? Why do they agree to be their handservants! their valets! How gullible are they, really? Who gave Huck advice on how to deal with characters like this, and what is the advice?
Camp Meetings Twain said that camp meetings were disgusting—energized by a thinly veiled sexuality and lasciviousness, which he originally wanted evidenced generally by the open-air congregation in this chapter, and not just by the “king”. The king’s use of the word “orgies” [for eulogies] could just as well have applied to camp meetings, in Twain’s opinion.