Twain: Genius Realist, Anti-Romanticist
Uploaded by ywbyun on Sep 17, 2001
Stories have existed since the beginning of mankind. Going back as far as ancient Greece in history, or even further back, one can examine the many different types of stories that have been passed down to us. The ancient Greeks wrote about gods and developed drama; the Romans passed down biographies of Caesars containing their life achievements as well as their failures; numerous stories questioning the institution of slavery were produced here in America; and finally, due to the development of technology, stories have transformed from merely writings into movies in our society today. Why have tales such as these intrigued us since the beginning of time? Was it merely due to the entertainment aspect, or was it something else? Usually by reading a work of an author, one is able to find a message or moral hidden beneath the storyline. Although Mark Twain’s Adventure of Huckleberry Finn deals with the immorality of slavery, by delving in deeper one can clearly see that Twain is a Realist who despises Romanticism.
One can clearly see Twain’s strive for Realism by examining the dialect used in his book. Even before the story of Huck Finn starts, Twain has an explanatory section explaining his use of dialects. He states that “[the] shadings have not been done in a hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; but pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.” By examining Pap’s famous speech about the “govment”, one can see that Twain’s use of dialect brings life into his story by making the reader feel as if he/she is actually there in the cabin listening to Pap speak. “Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful…There was a free nigger there, from Ohio…they said he was a p’fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything. And that ain’t the wust. They said he could vote, when he was at home…they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I’ll never vote agin” (Twain 20). Not only can the reader actually hear Pap’s southern dialect but the reader also becomes aware of his ignorance and his prejudice towards African-Americans. Furthermore, Twain amplifies Pap’s ignorance by using misspelled words and poor grammar such as “and knowed everything” and “govment” making the reader believe that this would...