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Throughout the novel Twain uses satire to poke fun at romantic literature, and conveys his strong d taste for it to the reader.
Huck's vague, past home life is solidified by Pap's constant verbal threats, and Pap warns Huck that he will physically abuse him if he tries to "put on considerble many frills." During the first meeting between the boy and his father, Pap's threats of abuse are so haphazard and disjointed that he becomes a comical figure.
For Huck, the drunken rantings of Pap are neither astonishing nor cruel; they simply exist as a facet of his life, and Huck reports the threats with a tone of indifference and detachment.
Everything he witnesses or hears he tells word fo word, exactly how it happened.
This characteristic of Huck's may at times cause him to appear ignorant, but it also makes him a very reliable narrator.
Pap convinces a new judge that he is a changed man, has "started in on a new life," and has given his life to God.
It only takes a night for Pap to return to his previous ways, as he becomes "drunk as a fiddler" and ends up collapsed outside the judge's house with a broken arm and a bitter spirit.Pap's role as an abusive parental figure is disturbing but vitally important to the novel, because it sets up as a direct contrast to the heroic and caring Jim.When Huck and Jim come upon the floating frame-house in Chapter 9, they discover a dead man among the various items.When Pap reappears, with hair that is "long and tangled and greasy" and rags for clothes, it is a reminder of the poverty of Huck's initial existence and a realistic representation of the ignorance and cruelty that dominated the institution of slavery and prejudice in America.Pap is suspect of both religion and education and feels threatened by or resents Huck's ability to read and exist in the world of Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas.The use of the name "Walter Scott", an author of romantic novels, for the boat is one of Twain's subtle uses of satire.More criticism is made about romantic literature through Tom's fixation wit basing all of his ideas and strategies around popular adventure stories.But after Pap gets "too handy with his hick'ry," Huck decides to escape.The ensuing passages portray another comical, slapstick version of Pap, cursing against a "gov'ment" that would take his only son away and condemning a nation that would allow a "nigger" to vote.Huck's companion, Jim, is yet another character worthy of analysis.At a period in American history when most African-American characters were depicted as fools or "Uncle Tom's," Jim's triumphant but humble passage from simple house servant to Tom's savior is an outline for the heroic figure.