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Grangerford Family In Huckleberry Finn

Decent Essays
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain plays with the theme of civilized vs uncivilized behavior, exhibiting its conflicting and contrasting roles in the novel through two main events: the Grangerford feud with the Shepherdsons and the arrival of two fugitives known as the Duke and the King. To begin, the Grangerford family shows a duplicity by being well-mannered and polite, while also harboring deep feelings of malice towards another family that lives in the same town known as the Shepherdsons. In many ways, through Huck’s eyes, the Grangerford family is the epitome of what he would consider ‘civilized’. For one, the Grangerford family is immensely rich, as Huck happily describes to the reader of all the luxuries they are able…show more content…
Their role in the novel definitely emphasizes their uncivilized behavior and lack of moral compass, which becomes more and more unnerving for Huck as he strengthens his own moral compass almost in response of disgust to what he witnesses them do. Needless to say, the Duke and King are rude and ruthless. More often than not, they are found lying and scheming in order to obtain money, alcohol, or female affection. Run entirely by greed, their characters are symbolic of human avarice and how an obsession with materialistic possessions can make someone terrifyingly cruel. In addition, it becomes evident by hearing them speak that they are not well-educated, tying into a theme of ‘uncivilized’ behavior in the novel. Overall, their entry onto Huck and Jim’s raft only promote chaos as they deceive people with more and more lack of compassion. Their actions frequently put Huck and Jim’s safety in risk, though Jim’s safety at much higher cost; if Jim gets caught, he will be put back in slavery. However, there is still a trickle of what one can consider civilized behavior when it comes to the King and the Duke. For one, when they are planning schemes, they always make sure to properly organize and arrange their ideas. In comparison, Huck and Jim rarely strategize about how to best use their time and reach Jim’s goal of becoming a free man. In other words, they live a life of extreme…show more content…
Life on the river with Huck and Jim is distinguished with a striking sense of calmness, serenity, and cohesiveness. As the novel progresses, it seems as if Huck and Jim are members of a functional family, rather than two misfit runaways who refuse to comply with society. They have a balance of power when it comes to maintaining the raft, though Jim often takes more than his share in order for Huck to be able to live as happily as possible. In the end, Twain poses a spectrum of civilized and uncivilized behavior. On one end of uncivilized behavior is the Duke and the King, marked by an utter lack of sympathy and an overwhelming selfishness. In the middle lies the Grangerford family. In one way, they are incredibly civilized through their accordance with religion, their abundant wealth, and their knowledgeable diction. Yet in contrast, they are involved in a savage battle where ultimately none of those civilized customs matter, acting in incredibly reckless and dangerous ways in the sake of vengeance. With Huck and Jim, their place in the spectrum seems to fit best with civilized behavior: they work well together, they keep to themselves and do not bother others, and they clearly care for each other. While on the other hand, in a very uncivilized manner, they have run away from home and their responsibilities, cutting any type of attachment to society. In a way, Mark Twain implicates that true
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