Not Truly Civilized

After the novel written by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, many questions are raised surrounding the society in which we live. In a passage Twain once wrote, he describes civilization as having many great advancements that most people would like to have to make life a bit easier. However, even with all the great inventions that society has created, Twain criticizes the way we live. People have forgotten the simple pleasures of life and replaced it with the ridiculous standards that society has deemed important. The advancements have thrown people into an endless cycle that causes an insatiable appetite for things, whether that be for money or possessions. Then people end up just putting on a show to make it seem like they all live a perfect life. Frankly, it’s a vicious cycle that all people have been forced into, and yet no one can achieve or get out.

When trying to tie those thoughts back to the novel and the society in which Huck lives it is actually quite easy. Set against the southern U.S. in the times of slavery, it becomes very apparent just how terrible society can be. Not counting the entire slavery aspect, which is a huge deal, the people that Huck encounters are ridiculous. The novel is set up in ‘mini episodes’ where Huck meets people living around the river. And in each the norms by which society lives become more and more outrageous. The people are shallow, hypocrites, and ignorant to just about everything. By Twain writing the characters as he did it, in a very clever way, makes fun of society as a whole. He portrays the ‘civilized’ people as the complete opposite, whereas the ‘uncivilized’ people, deemed by society, are far more civilized and normal. The novel shows the consequences of society on people and how crazy it can make them.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written in the era after the civil war, but is set in the times of slavery. However, the points Twain brings up regarding society are still relevant in modern times. Today, the pressures put on people by society are astounding. Though perfection can never be reached, people expect it out of others, and if they don’t achieve it, society ridicules them. We have created standards which can never happen. We have created endless cycles of trying, then failing. We have created rules that a ‘perfect’ family should follow. In all we have created madness. Society is a demanding thing, which we feel the need to ‘fit in’, rather than follow what we really want. We have thrown away the simplicities and replaced them with ridiculous standards just so people can fit in. Although this novel was written over a century ago, as well as Twains summary of society and civilization, the problems still exist today, and will continue to unless we all choose to do something about it.


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