Huckleberry Finn Rhetorical Analysis

Decent Essays

In the 1884 novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain uses hyperboles coupled with irony and an appeal to pathos to gently and subtly attempt to alter his Reconstruction audience’s view on African American’s equal role in society; on the other hand in “Learning to Read” by Malcolm X, X similarly attempts to inspire change in his literate audience using an appeal to pathos,on African American’s equal role in society, but contrarily uses an accusatory tone to convey this message.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain uses Huck’s personal hyperboles, irony and an appeal to pathos as he subtly attempts to alter his Reconstruction's audience view on the African Americans role in society. Towards the end of the novel …show more content…

Huck began to over exaggerate as he was expressing his feelings of wickedness for “stealing a poor old woman’s nigger”, which is an over exaggeration since he did not steal Jim, but instead was helping him escape a terrible lifestyle (Twain 318). Also ironically, if he went to Sunday-school he would have learned that helping a slave would lead him to “everlasting fire”, instead of to Paradise, although holding slaves is against Christian ideologies (318). By doing this Twain subtly emphasizes the foolishness and irony that religious women such as Miss Watson would even own a slave while parading herself as a devout Christian woman because of the fact that Christians do not believe in harming other beings, which slavery does by oppression. As Huck pondered on his ethical dilemma whether to save …show more content…

However, unlike Twain X aggressively expresses the changing of African Americans inequality in society by using an accusatory tone against white history. Also, while Twain uses a hidden message to express his views on African Americans not being subservient to White Americans, X instead uses straightforward methodology to convey to audience that there need to be an active change in society’s view on African Americans and minorities in general. However, X, like Twain uses an audience's appeal to pathos as he speaks on issues in how “the history of the Negro had been covered in one paragraph” in schools and were derogatory (qtd. in Cohen 276). Since the audience is emotionally moved by how unfairly the history of African Americans were taught in schools they would ultimately want more history as X described in other books such as “Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History“ (277). X also uses an appeal to pathos as he describes the different horrors of slavery such as “black mothers watching watching their babies being dragged off” (278). Unlike Twain, however, X straightforwardly and aggressively begins to accuse the white man for constant oppression such as in the Opium War where X believes that the “white man raped China at a time when China was trusting and helpless”

Get Access