Satire In Mark Twain's Advice To Youth

Decent Essays
Laughter is Bonding People always say that laughter alleviates tension. If this is the case, then it makes sense that the use of humor when discussing uncomfortable topics can make the conversation easier and more light-hearted. One of Mark Twain’s most frequently used devices in works such as “Advice to Youth”, “To the Person Sitting in Darkness”, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is satire, which can provide society a method to bond over uncomfortable topics, and facilitate the ability to sustain that bond through an easier way to create discussion. In “Advice to Youth”, Mark Twain uses satire to provide advice to two different audiences: the youth and their parents, and therefore, the two groups can come together over the essay.…show more content…
He begins with: “always obey your parents”, a very simple piece of advice, but then adds, “when they are present. This is the best policy in the long run because if you don’t, they will make you” (“Advice to Youth”). His addition of this statement is obvious sarcasm, that provides another piece of very different advice. This piece of advice is directed at the parents, and it satirically tells them not to force their children into obedience. Rather than having an awkward conversation about the respect expected from each party in a child-parent relationship, parents can use this piece to open the discussion. The parents and children, through this repetition of satire, can both learn ways to respect each other, therefore, creating a bond. “To the Person Sitting in Darkness” is another one of Twain’s works that uses irony to present an argument, therefore allowing an easier way to discuss the argument. However, this work is not presented in a light-hearted fashion. Rather, it uses satire to show extremes in order to force people to consider the problems with imperialism. This essay discusses several world events in which…show more content…
Huck Finn is a historical fiction novel that uses offensive language in a satirical way to portray slavery in the nineteenth century. The novel is questioned for its historical inaccuracies and use in junior high and high school classrooms. Some believe that the “reading aloud of Huckleberry Finn in our classrooms is humiliating and insulting to black students” (Wallace, 17). Yet, others believe that “one gathers a deeper understanding of the meaning of living in a slave society such as the one Huck and his peers lived in” (Barksdale, 49). Because of the novel’s vulgar language and repeated use of the “n-word”: “the appellation commonly used for slaves in slavery time, appears more than 200 times”, the novel can become a source of discussion within the classroom environment (Barksdale, 52). Although students would have to be prepared for the “far-flung historical and psychological causes and consequences”, after reading the novel, its negativity and racial discrimination can be discussed rather than its status as a literary classic (Barksdale, 53). This novel can create a safe way to discuss the use of racial profanities as well as racism during the 19th and 20th centuries compared to the racism experienced in the 21st century. If teachers and students are able to discuss The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in a constructive manner rather than
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