Mark Twain was a great American writer at the end of Reconstruction. His views on the south were strong and very critical in many areas. He uses six episodes in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to display his critiques of southern society. Twain attacks the southern aristocracy, religion, the mob mentality of the south, the lower class, the middle class and the racist feeling the south possessed. His six episodes serve as a look into all parts of the south and so allows the readers to see the flaws presented in each area. These flaws are then used as way to portray the south as the perpetrators in starting the civil war.
The first part of the south that falls under critism by Twain is the southern aristocracy. The Sheperdson- Grangerford episode is used to illustrate how irresponsible and ignorant the upper class really was. They could hardly remember the origins of their feud and yet they continue to kill each other. At one point Huck tries to find out what the feud was about, only find that no one really knows.
“Soon as I could get Buck down by the corn-cribs under the trees by ourselves, I says:
‘Did u want to kill him, Buck?’
‘Well, I bet I did’
‘What did he do to you?’
‘Him? He never done nothing to me.’
‘Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?’
‘Why, nothing- only it’s on account of the feud.’…
‘Has this one been going on for long, Buck?’
‘Well, I should reckon! It started thirty year ago, or som'ers along there. There was trouble ‘bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit- which he would naturally do of course. Anybody would’
‘What was the trouble about, Buck? - land?’
‘I reckon maybe- I don’t know.’” (107-108)
This shows how long the dispute has been going on despite the fact that its origins are unclear. Also, twain seems to be pointing out a kind of never ending cycle in the south. Because these two families continue to war...