What theme was Emmeline Grangerford most interested in?


Quick Answer

The character Emmeline Grangerford from Mark Twain's classic "Huckleberry Finn" romanticizes death, using it as a central theme in all of her art and poetry. This is especially ironic since, when Huck learns of her, she is already dead.

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Full Answer

In chapters 17 and 18 of "Huckleberry Finn," Huck is plunged into the world of the Grangerfords, who are feuding with the Shepherdsons for reasons no one can accurately remember. All the Grangerfords seem to romanticize death to some degree, holding that family honor is more important than life. They consider Emmeline's overly sentimental and amateurish work to be the height of art. After a Grangerford daughter runs away with a Shepherdson son in a Romeo-and-Juliet moment, the feud breaks out in force, and Huck escapes.

The Grangerfords, especially Emmeline Grangerford, are a satirical reference the overly sentimental Victorian literature of Twain's time. The feud between the Grangerfords and the Sheperdsons with its bad behavior and deaths is a satirical jab at the notion of "civilization."

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