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Micah Anderson <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 20 Apr 1995 18:35:58 -0700
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In Huck Finn there are numerous crowd scenes: the people at the circus,
the mob that goes after Sherburn, the people at the camp meeting that the
Duke cons into giving money for his pirate reform project, the crowd that
attends the Royal Nonesuch performance, the crowd at Wilks' funeral, the
gan of men that case Tom, Huck and Jim at the end of the book... It
doesn't seem as if Twain thinks positivly about mobs and crowds. Why not?
Is there some underlying attitudes, or ideas that Twain holds that causes
him to feel this way towards large groups of people? Is it a political
ideology of somesort that he is trying to convey? Is it some qualm
with society in general? In "Mark Twain" Smith claims that "several
touches [of mob attitudes] that suggest Mark Twain was recalling the
ddescriptions of mobs in Carlyle's French Revolution and other works of
history and fiction. He considered mobs to be subhuman aggregates
generating psychological pressures that destroyed individual freedom of
choice...Twain makes scathing generalizations about the cowardice of
mobs, especially in the South but also in other reegions, that closely
parallel Sherburn's speach." What is wrong with the way people think and
act in bunches in Huck Finn?

I am trying to develop a paper on this subject, but I am finding a very
limited amount of information. Any help that anyone could offer would be
highly appreciated!