When people think of the American Dream, they think of individuals who climb up from the bottom of society to the top through hard work and determination. This way they could gain possession of the materialist things they always wanted and live a joyful life as well as provide for their families. One also thinks of a society free of prejudice and discrimination where everyone is considered to have an equal status. Yet, when Mark Twain wrote his book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he intended to reveal the darker side of humanity and how things actually occurred after the Civil War. One of the aspects of the American Dream is the pursuit of wealth by means of hard work and determination. In his book, the King and the Duke tried to achieve this portion of the dream by alternative means.
They would put their lives on the line just to come up with a cleaver scheme in which they could con people out of their money. They created an entire spiel about them being the Dauphin, Louis XVI's lost son in order to go along with Tom and Jim. The two later even went to the extent to put on Shakespearean shows and print out fake "handbills". Rather than actually doing anything useful for society, the two scam-artists tried to take the easy way out of life, but were eventually caught and punished severely.
All in all, the Duke and King were trying to accomplish their own small version of the American Dream. Another aspect of the American Dream is that parents want the best for their children. On the contrary, Pa does not seem to take much interest in Huck. For quite some time, Huck's father disappeared from town only to arrive later when he heard that his son had acquired a small fortune. He then threatens to beat Huck "down a peg" so that he would remind him of his status in the family only hoping to get the fortune for his booze. Things only get worse when Pa learns that Huck has become the first member of the family to learn to read, and consequently takes him away from town down the river into a small cabin.
Cleverly, Pa doesn't want to abandon Huck just yet for he continuously threatens the Father about the fortune he has hidden until Huck finally fakes his own death. Pa would be a fine example of a specimen who was unworthy of his breath by the way he treated Huck. According to the American Dream, everyone should be declared equal. At that time in society, the law just recently declared to follow that motive. In a dream, everyone has an equal status in society, be free from discrimination, and have the right to express themselves as individuals. In his book, Mark Twain decided to unveil the mask of what was truly happening in society.
Even though slavery was outlawed, there was still the problem of who would enforce it. Evidently, no one cared for it in the South as blacks were still being treated just the same way they were before the Civil War. Jim's status as a human continuously diminished even though he proved himself time and again that he was worthy of the high life. No matter what they did, slavery was still an important issue after the war. Mark Twain possibly did not want to reveal what everyone wished the American Dream would be like.
He instead revealed the grim reality of what actually goes on behind it by showing us that people do not always work hard in order to gain material things, not all parents care for the children, and that at those times all men were not considered equal..