Grangerford & Shepherdson: Families in Huckleberry Finn

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      The Grangerford family is one of the Southern aristocrats. They are introduced to us in Chapter 17. The family consists of Col. Grangerford, a well-bred thorough gentleman; his three sorns, Tom, Bob and Buck; and two daughters, Charlotte and Sophia. They had three more sons, who got killed, and a daughter named Emmeline Grangerford, who died. Buck, one of the sons in the Grangerford family, becomes very friendly towards Huck and the two of them spend a lot of time together. Buck also dies at the end of the episode.

      The family is very affluent. They have colossal farmlands with over a hundred slaves. Their library has a fairly good collection of books on Classical Literature, Medicine and a plethora of other subjects.

      The Shepherdsons belong to another aristocratic family of the neighbourhood. Not much is known of them except that they are involved in a bloody feud with the Grangerfords. The feud is three decades old and, though the exact reason behind it is not clear to anybody, they are blood-thirsty enemies. Sophia Grangerford elopes with Harney Shepherdson thus triggering off a bloody battle between the two families in which Col. Grangerford and his three sons are killed.

      The families represent the aristocracy and gentility of the South. Through them, Twain mocks at the phony religiosity of the so-called refined families. They carry guns to church and go through all the "pretty ornery preaching" that is all about "brotherly love". Their endless talk about "faith and good works and free grace and preforeordestination" is indeed ridiculous in the light of their irrational feud with the Shepherdsons.

      Emmeline Grangerford is another minor character within the Grangerford household. When she was alive, she had painted many gloomy pictures and had also written weepy eulogies for dead people This had prevented her from enjoying her own life while she could. This character is employed by Twain to voice his disapproval of sentimental literature that takes one farther from reality.

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