The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

What is the author's purpose in portraying the townspeople as he does?

Chapter 21 of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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As the story unfolds, we notice that Huck is developing his own moral code. Often, Twain uses the book and Huck's character to voice his own ideas about society. Huck differs from greater Southern society and often criticizes the hypocrisy and even cruelty. He denounces organized religion in the opening chapters with the raid on the Sunday school picnic. Huck's relationship with Jim exposes slavery and the evil it inflicts on human beings. This becomes especially poignant when Jim tells Huck about his daughter. Huck also learns that games and clever con-jobs frequently hurt innocent people. They have a fall out which Huck didn't consider during his times with Tom Sawyer.