Satire and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

This Satire and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn lesson plan also includes:

Does Mark Twain’s satire become sarcasm and does he cross the line of propriety in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? As an introduction of satire, class members view an excerpt from The Daily Show and discuss Stewart's use of this literary device.They then read the first chapter of Twain’s novel and identify the targets of his satire. In conclusions, learners analyze either Huck’s soliloquy on the efficacy of prayer, Pap’s rant about the government, or Huck’s description of Emmeline Grangerford.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Ensure that a protocol has been established that permits a safe, respectful discussion of controversial language and topics
  • Extend the introduction portion of the lesson to ensure that class members are able to recognize why satirists might want to use sarcasm to offend
  • Begin the novel by reading aloud Twain's preface and asking class members why the author may have chosen to include the Notice and Explanatory
Classroom Considerations
  • The use of Twain's novel in the classroom is very controversial due to its racist language and racial stereotypes; the essays in Satire Or Evasion?: Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn are a great teacher resource
  • The link to The Daily Show features episodes with Trevor Noah; however, video clips with Jon Stewart are available on the Internet
  • The lesson is designed to prepare readers for the satire in Twain's novel
  • No links are provided to clips from The Daily Show; instructors will need to locate clips appropriate for their classroom