The Antebellum Period : A Great Deal Of Fodder For Social Criticism

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The antebellum period, in which The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is set, provided a great deal of fodder for social criticism for many authors during and after the period. During the antebellum period, the institution of slavery was maintained with increasing hostility in the American South, where legislators and civilians alike worried about abolition and its potential ramifications. Ever since its foundation, Southern society had been dependent upon slavery as the bedrock for its economy and social mores, which in turn, was dependent upon the racism meant to marginalize the black man. Southern society was also marked by violence; dueling and hunting were viewed as prominent activities for the supposed “Southern gentleman” to engage in. During the antebellum period, President Andrew Jackson, from North Carolina, engaged in one hundred and three duels throughout his life, exemplary of the violent Southern culture he was a product of. The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn makes this peculiar culture its setting as its eponymous protagonist and an escaped slave wade down the Mississippi River, in an epic exodus for freedom from the civilization from which they have ousted themselves. Mark Twain, the author of Huckleberry Finn, uses the contrast between land and river in order to criticize the antebellum society within the American South. It is within St. Petersburg, in which Twain prepares the social criticism which comes to dominate the novel. One of the main
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