The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

What are some examples of VERBAL irony in this book?

What are some examples of VERBAL irony in this book?

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Verbal Irony

Chapter 12

"'See? He'll be drownded, and won't have nobody to blame for it but his own self. I reckon that's a considerable sight better'n killin' of him. I'm unfavorable to killin' a man as long as you can git aroun' it; it ain't good sense, it ain't good morals. Ain't I right?'"

This misguided man judges it a lesser crime to let a man drown than to kill him outright. Here, Twain satirizes the idiocy and cruelty of human society.

Chapter 20

"They asked us considerable many questions; wanted to know what we covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in the daytime instead of running-was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I:

'Goodness sakes, would a runaway nigger run south?'

No, they allowed he wouldn't." -Pg. 127

Huck uses his own mistake to cover up their scheme. He wasn't intentionally going south; but had made a wrong turn.

Chapter 21

"This is the speech-I learned it, easy enough, while he was learning it to the king:

To be or not to be; that is the bare bodkin

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would fardels bear..."

Huck, while being impressed to no end with the actors, has gotten the soliloquy entirely wrong, yet another demonstration of his inability to become a member of "civilized" society.

"Then at the bottom was the biggest line of all, which said: LADIES AND CHILDREN NOT ADMITTED 'There,' says he, 'if that line don't fetch them, I don't know Arkansaw!' -Pg. 150

The duke recognizes and profits from the locals' ignorance and attraction to crass humor.

Chapter 23

"'But Huck, dese kings o' ourn is reglar rapscallions; dat's jist what dey is; dey's reglar rapscallions.'

'Well, that's what I'm a-saying; all kings is mostly rapscallions as fur as I can make out.'

'Is dat so?'

'You read about them once-you'll see. Look at Henry the Eight; this 'n' 's a Sunday-school Superintendent to him.'" -Pg. 153

Huck is under the impression that all kings, or authority figures, for that matter, are corrupt and cruel because of a few examples that have supported this theory. Therefore, their "king's" actions seem minor in comparison to the massive corruption Huck expects.

Chapter 26

"'How is servants treated in England? Do they treat 'em better 'n we treat our niggers?'

'No! A servant ain't nobody there. They treat them worse than dogs.'" -Pg. 172

At this point in America history, slaves were often treated worse than dogs. Throughout the novel, Huck is the only person to acknowledge this unfairness.

Chapter 29

"'Set down, my boy; I wouldn't strain myself if I was you. I reckon you ain't used to lying, it don't seem to come handy; what you want is practice. You do it pretty awkward.'" -Pg. 196

Throughout the novel, Huck has survived through lies and dishonesty. Here, he is in the middle of telling one lie when caught in another.

Chapter 30

"'But answer me only jest this one more-now don't get mad; didn't you have it in your mind to hook the money and hide it?'

The duke never said nothing for a little bit; then he says:

'Well, I don't care if I did, I didn't do it, anyway. But you not only had it in mind to do it, but you done it.'" -Pg. 203

The duke seems guilty about even wanting to commit the crime, while the king, who committed the act, is accusatory.