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Religion in Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Religion in Huckleberry Finn

Religion is one of the most constant targets of Twain’s satirical pen. In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain portrays contemporary religion as shallow and hypocritical. He criticizes the hypocrisy of conventional religion by comparing it with the true religion of Huck.

Most of the characters in Huckleberry Finn, while ostensibly devout Christians, in reality behave in anything but a Christian way. Some use religion as a tool to obtain wealth. The king, who twice poses as a preacher, is the epitome of the greedy evangelist. His actions are, in Huck’s words, “enough to make a body ashamed of the human race” (131). Many do not exploit religion, but most are hypocritical. For example, the Grangerfords go to church, own religious books, and say that the sermon about brotherly love is very lovely. However, they kill their neighbors and bring their guns to church.

The most significant hypocrisy in Huckleberry Finn concerns slavery. Some very devout people, such as Miss Watson and Silas Phelps, who is a preacher, own slaves. This hypocrisy …

The Cultural Conflict of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

The Cultural Conflict of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

By imitating writing styles of ancient poets, Ezra Pound exhibited his attitude toward modern civilization, and his famous poem, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, is the stereotype. In this poem, Pound revealed his disagreement with industrial society. The poem is an imitation of other old poetic styles, or epic style; however, it presents ironic meaning. To fully understand Pound’s divergence from modern culture, the ways of presenting his position will be firstly explained. Next, the focus is on the contrast between the elitist and popular culture. Finally, to highlight Pound’s attitude, I prefer to make comparison with other literary masterpieces, Odyssey, which have similar poetic style, or theme, but share different sense.

In “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley”, the poem itself is a mosaic, which is a composition of many images, and these images are derived from words. Generally, in any forms of literary work, authors compose texts with words, then texts shape images; however, with proper selection and arrangement of words, which is known as diction, sometimes words form images directly. In this poem, Pound chose classical-sense words, such as sublime, Penelope, kinema, Dionysus, Ariel and so on, to create ancient images in this poem. After those images combine together as a mosaic, which is the poem, the mosaic appears an ancient but ironic sense; whereas, it reminds readers of “the glorious past,” which indicates Pound’s dissatisfaction about modern society. It is his bitter manner that forced him to escape from terrible reality by writing the poem. One way to run away from the disillusion is to create an imaginary world to replace it. In addition, his ironic manner …

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…thology of English Literature, volume 2. (New York: W. W. Norton, seventh edition, 2000) 799.

v[v] Frould, 79.

Works Cited

Frould, Christine, A Guide to Ezra Pound’s Selected Poems. New York: New Directions Books, 1983.

Grieve, Thomas F., Ezra Pound’s Early Poetry and Poetics. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997.

Kearns, George, Ezra Pound: The Cantos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Malcin, Peter, Pound’s Cantos. London: George Allen Unwin, 1985.

Nicholls, Peter, Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing. London: The Macmillan Press, 1984.

Rainey, Lawrence S., Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture: Text, History, and the Malatesta Cantos. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Sutton, Walter, Ezra Pound: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1963.

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