Kakos' 6th Hour

Reactions and comments from my sixth hour Honors American Literature class.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Brian, Brian, and Ryan: Truth, Lies, and Kings

Brian, Brian, and Ryan

"I says to myself, I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place, is taking considerable many resks, though I ain't had no experience, and can't say for certain" (205)

Is it alright to lie in a tight situation to insure self-preservation even if the consequences could have an impact on others? How do you think Mark Twain would feel about this? How does this tie into Darwinism?

"Pretty soon he begun to speak, and I could see, he pronounced like an Englishman, not the king's way, though the king's was pretty good, for an imitation" (Twain 215)

What do you think Twain is satirizing when he brings the real kings back into the story in order to expose the fakes? Also, how does Huck know what a real Englishman sounds like, and why do you think Twain allowed the fake kings to reunite with Huck and Jim at the end of chapter 29?

7 Comments:

Blogger Aubry P. said...

I think that Mark Twain would think that it is not in good character to lie ever.I think that he would not look down on people that did because he knows that every human is flawed. I think that the people he would look up to would not lie in tight situations and take the easy way out. I think that when the real kings are brought into the story it shows how much easier it is to see the lie when the truth is there to compare it to. I think that it is showing that when a lie is presented in the right light it is beleivable but then when it is compared to the blinding truth, the lie turns obvious.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Sarah S. said...

To me, one of the underlying themes of the entire novel has been "doing what's right instead of what's easy". By placing characters who are basically good (Huck and Jim, for example), or 'real' alongside characters who are seriously flawed (Huck's father), or 'fake', Twain shows how lying, no matter the situation, is not in good character, as small lies told for the purpose of convenience can breed larger ones, told for the purpose of personal gain or even pleasure. In the spirit of following his own message, no, I do not believe that Twain would ever lie to get out of a sticky situation.

4:20 PM  
Blogger nicci c said...

I think that it is never right to lie in any situation, but people still do so if it means that they will be able to preserve their own happiness. However, I don't think that Twain would personally lie if it meant that those consequences would hurt other people. When the real kings are presented against the fake ones, I think that Twain is showing that lies are worthless and only cause trouble for you becasue the truth always comes out in the end. Twain probably reunited the group because the king and duke cause Huck and Jim to figure out the right thing to do dispite what the kings influence upon them.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Alexaaaaa said...

Although Aubrey has a good point, I think that Twain isn't just showing Huck and Jim's rejection of lies, he also shows how people don't recognize a lie unless somebody challenges it. A perfect example of this is when Huck realizes that Jim has feelings for his family. Huck lives under the impression that slavery is right, so to him, this is not a revelation, but evidence of madness. In the case of the enlgish accent, Twain satirizes the way people hold onto their misconceptions to some degree, even when faced with irrefutable evidence that they are wrong by having Huck recognize that the king's accent was fake, but still recognize it as a good immitation.

1:07 PM  
Blogger corey c said...

I think that Huck's lies are very unuseful. He only lies because he is in the middle of making a huge lie. I don't think life is meant to be lived in a lying manner, like Huck's. In the book only several people know who he actually is, so no one really knows Huck, they know the person who he lies he is. I think that Twain is trying to show the problems with lying, like when the fake king is exposed. I think he is trying to show a message about lying. He is trying to show how lying gets you in situations where everything falls apart, and in the end the truth always comes out.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Olivia C. said...

The question posed (dealing with honesty) is really quite dependent on the impact it will have on those around the individual. If one must lie for self-preservation and it will blatantly effect another negatively then certainly it is not appropriate to lie. However, if the opposite is true and you truly believe nobody will be effected by the lie, then I suppose it can be justified. I believe that Mark Twain would agree as he has the characters in his book living upon lies (therefore suggesting some sort of approval) but then some lies are given consequences proving that Twain feels many lies hurt others. I think that Twain's purpose in reuniting the King's and Huck at the end of chapter 29 is to (like Corey said) present a blatant liar, and in doing so he exposes that characters liability to consequence.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Ryan S said...

I think that the first passage relates to Darwinism because of how the strongest always survive and if you help others you invite the trouble to you and it will make it harder to survive. This is wrong, but life is hard and sometimes you need to look out after yourself. I agree with Corey when he says that lying gets you in bad situations that are hard to get out of, and lies always hurt somebody in some different ways. Twain is teaching us a little lesson about lying and no matter how deep you bury it somebody will uncover it.

8:47 PM  

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