Human Nature in Mark Twain’s “Hadleyburg” and “Huckleberry Finn”

Both “The Man who Corrupted Hadleyburg” and “Huckleberry Finn” have truthful but unfavorable views of human nature and society in general. Some might call Mark Twain a pessimist but I think he is a realist who uses humor and fiction to expose the hypocrisies of everyday life. The town of Hadleyburg uses an exterior fix (changing its name) to change an interior problem (that its citizens are greedy and spiteful just like everywhere else). Perhaps what Twain is trying to say is that it is not hopes and wishes and illusions of being a good person that makes one a good person. Instead it is that person’s behavior. Huck is a good person based on accumulation of his good deeds not necessarily his intentions or his words. Hadleyburg on the other hand is a corrupt town and will remain a corrupt town whether or not they keep their name.

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