Racist, foul languaged, and unflattering.
That's right, folks. This standard of American Literature is racist and condescending to any well-to-do person of a moral society while heinously wrapped up in a romantic pastiche of the Antebellum South. Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens has some nerve to throw away virtually every proper writing convention to construct this farce of an adventure. Which is why I consider this is one of the best books I have ever read.
I really enjoyed how well played the satire is. Twain paints the South frankly and without restraint. It was much like Classical Athens where slavery is thought to be a natural fixture of an advanced, cultured society. The southern hospitality is played against moronic feuds and rampant racism; the cultural facades are unimaginably thick and full of logic holes and hypocrisy. Twain even stealthily attacks both realism and romanticism rampant around the Occidental sphere; his most famous passages are of Huck and Jim lazily floating down the Mississippi with all the time in the world, yet reading the book it is clear that they are deep in a dangerous, filthy place where they can easily lose their lives. The story gets quite scary if you think enough about it. The satire points out that yes, while the South does have it's jewels, you cannot ignore the tarnish that comes with it when you look back. The dialogue is wonderfully horrid; the writing is likewise exceptional. You can tell why this man is "The Father of American Literature". None of the social commentary brings attention to itself— a mark of a true humorist.
However, this play between realism and romanticism grinds to a halt at the end; Mark Twain has a hard time ending the satirical journey because it can only end really happily, or really horribly with the way his story has been flowing, and inserting a certain best-friend-of-Huck doesn't make things any better. It only exacerbates what was a smooth mix of the good and the bad, turning ugly. We always say that it's the journey that really matters in the end, but we should never forget where we came from, or else we will be in danger of running in circles.