2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Censor it, Ban it, and Burn it: A Discussion of Satire as it Pertains to Cognitive Development in Mark Twain's, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Casandra E. Fain
Dr. Donna Rhinesmith, Faculty Mentor

One hundred years after his death, Mark Twain is still one of America's most popular and controversial authors. One of his most celebrated novels, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, explores the horrors of racism in a slave-holding country. With such issues, this novel displays Twain's mastery of satire. This use of satire, however, is misunderstood by some readers, causing Huckleberry Finn to reach the top of banned book lists across the nation. Using Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development, it can be concluded that the ability to appreciate and understand satire at its most intimate level occurs at the formal operational period. While younger readers will have a personal response to satirical literature, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn can be most effectively taught in settings where students have displayed a mastery of formal operational thinking, and thus can appreciate Twain's work as he intended.

Keywords: Satire, Cognitive development, Jean Piaget, Mark Twain, Controversial literature


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 22-2
Location: MG 2090
Time: 9:45

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