Sample Close Reading

Chapter Six(Pap's Speech)


This chapter, specifically Pap’s speech, represents the how naive the southern white man was at the time and also is another example of hypocrisy. Pap in his drunken rage criticizes the “govment” because they allow blacks freedom. He gives an example of a half-black man from Ohio who wears fine clothing and he believes it is wrong for a man with black family to be able to wear such lavish items. However, he fails to recognise he could never afford such items.

Pap also says that he feels robbed by the government and that keeping his own child, Huck away from him is an injustice. When truly, he is an abusive father who does nothing good for Huck.


The chapter symbolizes the hypocrisy of southern racism. Many southern men at the time were unsuccessful drunks who felt they had knowledge of government. Pap was in a way jealous of Huck because Huck has nicer clothes than him and he had the opportunity to get educated. Pap was also a very racist man, just like other men in the South during this time.


Pap’s speech shows his personality, and that he is an unemployed drunk, yet he is still talking about the unfairness of the government. Also, Twain includes this to show the irony between pap’s words and his actions. Twain satirizes the morally questionable practices of the drunk white man who claims to have a strong sense of knowledge of the government.

Close Reading Through Examples

“Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it’s like. Here’s the law a-standing ready to take a man’s son away from him— a man’s own son” (Twain 28)

Pap is saying that he should be able to keep Huck in his custody, even though he has never taken care of him. He believes that the government has done wrong to him by allowing Huck to live with the widow.

“State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I’ll never vote agin.” (Twain 29)

This quote shows that pap was a very racist man and his beliefs about African Americans. He is saying that the government allowing black people to vote would effect the votes of white people.


Does Twain use pap to create a sense of sympathy for Huck?

What is the effect of Twain’s satire in pap’s speech?

What effect does pap have on Huck’s development and racial views?

Image Citations

“Adventures Of Huck Finn, by Mark Twain, Chapter 4 - Audio.” Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

“Huck Finn Homepage.” Huck Finn Homepage. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

“Mark Twain – Read &Amp; Listen.” - Huck Finn Chapter 5. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

“White Man Whipping a Slave.” USHistory The 19th Century A1. N.p., Jun. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

“Drunk Man Lying on City Street near Trashcan.” 123RF Stock Photos. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.