The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain 1. The Author and His Times Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Clemens, was born in Florida, Missouri in 1835. When he was four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, the setting for many of his books. His father died when he was 12. After his father died, he went to work as a printers apprentice and eventually as a printer in Missouri, St. Louis, and New York often writing a few works himself for periodicals.
He worked as a printer and a reporter selling much of his work to newspapers. He continually moved from town to town. In 1857, he decided to move to South America to make a fortune there. He boarded a riverboat and headed for New Orleans where he would arrange the rest of his trip. However, he never made it past New Orleans and never into South America.
He begged the riverboat to teach him how to pilot the riverboat. The riverboat pilot agreed to teach him for $500. Mark Twain went west during the civil war and established himself as a writer during this time. He wrote humorous stories about his experiences which lead to a job as a newspaper reporter in 1862. The following year he began signing his work “Mark Twain,” a riverboat term meaning two fathoms deep.
Mark Twain went to Hawaii in 1866. This trip was the beginning of his career as a travel correspondent. The next year he went to Europe and wrote a successful book there titled, The Innocent Abroad. In 1876, he published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This book was such a success that he decided immediately to write a sequel.
The sequel, which became much more complex than the original was published seven years later in 1883 and titled, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After Huckleberry Finn, Twain wrote nearly a dozen more books but none were as successful. By 1939, Twain had lost all of his money investing in various schemes and inventions, almost all of which were failures. After this, he went on a world lecture tour and was able to pay his debts by 1896. While on the tour, one of his daughters died.
His wife later in 1904. In 1909 his daughter died leaving him unhappy. 2. Form, Structure, and Plot The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn consists of 43 chapters and is told in the first person with Huck Finn telling the story. The book divides into three sections.
The first sections has Huck living his Miss Watson and her sister in civilization. During the second section, Huck travels down the river with Jim. In the last section, Huck returns to civilization and lives with Tom in Uncle Silas farm. An organizational object in the book is the river which serves as a timeline for the book. The first section introduces Huck and his current life living with Miss Watson and Later with his father.
This section ends were Huck fakes his death and flees to Jackson Island. In the second section, Huck meets Jim at the island and starts down the river when they find out that Jim is being searched for. Huck runs from civilization and Jim runs from slavery. This section ends when both Jim and Huck make it to Uncle Silas farm. The third sections takes place at the farm and continues to the end of the book. Although the book divides itself into three sections, it does not divide itself to neatly into rising action, climax and conclusion since the book consists of several adventures with its own rising action, climax, and conclusion.
It is difficult to label a single point as the climax. The book clearly starts with the exposition where Huck introduced himself as a character from Tom Sawyer and the son of a town drunk. He lived with Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. However, Huck did not like the civilized life and would rather live an easy going life. Hucks father finds out that Huck has some money and kidnaps him into a shack by the river. Pap beats Huck and Huck decides that he must escape.
Huck fakes his death and flees to Jackson Island. On the island, he meets Jim, Miss Watsons runaway slave. This is the rising action. When the find that there are men on the island searching for Jim, they decide to travel down the Mississippi river and up the Ohio river into the free states. On the river, they live an easy life as they travel during the night and hide during the day.
Traveling down the river, the have many adventures, but they miss the turnoff into the Ohio River in the climax. Some of the adventures include the family feud between the Grangerford and Shephersons. Later they meet two con artists who call themselves the Duke and the King. They have several adventures with the Duke and the King. However, since they are low on money, the Duke and King sell Jim as a runaway slave to the Phelps.
Huck goes to the Phelps and pretends he is Sid Sawyer, their nephew. Tom later comes and pretends he is Huck Finn. There, they try to rescue Jim but fails, only to have Tom tell them that Jim was already free. At the conclusion of the book, Huck decides to head off into new territory since he does not like the civilized society. 3.
Point of View Huckleberry Finn is written in the first person with Huck narrating. It is in the past tense as a recent perspective. The narrator, Huck Finn, is the protagonist and not simply the observer. Often, Twain uses the book and Hucks character to voice his own ideas about society. For example, he denounces organized religion in the opening chapters with the raid on the Sunday school picnic. He exposes slavery and an evil and show blacks to have feelings just like others, especially in the episode where Jim tells Huck about his daughter. Twain also shows an aversion to royalty with the adventures with the duke and the king, and he tells his feelings on the government through the experiences of Pap and his run-ins with the law.
4. Character Twains characters are fairly complex and believable for the time the book was written. They are given feelings and emotions and have a measure of dimension. However, at times they seem to be less characters and more just a means to convey some of Twains ideas. Huck Finn – Huck is a young boy in his adolescence.
He is gullible, shrewd, and compassionate. During the different parts of the story, he appears differently. While living with Widow Douglas, he dressed nicely but lost this appearance after he went out on the river where he became less concerned with appearance and clothes. He shows a lot of compassion in the story. This is apparent in his dealings with Jim, the Wilks, and even with the duke and king. His function in the story is as the narrator.
“.. people will call me a low down abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum..” Jim – Jim is a middle aged slave own by Widow Douglass who ran away near the beginning of the book. He is fatherly, protective, and unselfish. His clothes are tattered and his appearance is not very good since he is a runaway slave without many clothes. He is kind to Huck and acts as a father to him during the trip down the river.
His purpose is to gauge the growth of Huck and to cause him to see slaves as people. “.. [Jim] would steal his children — children that belonged to a man .. a man that hadnt ever done me no harm.” Tom Sawyer – Tom is a friend of Huck. He is a little older than Huck. He is irresponsible, playful, and crude. His appearance is typical of the southern boy.
He has the personality of a constant adventurer, and one that is typical of a young boy that always want to play and pretend. He does things for the sake of adventure and hardly thinks of practicality. His purpose is to contrast to Hucks reasonability and cause the attempt to rescue Jim at the end of the book. Also contrasting with Huck is that he lives in society and enjoys it. Tom warns the Phelps that a “desperate gang of cutthroats from over in the Ingean Territory” is going to steal Jim that night when it was actually he that was going to steal Jim.
5. Setting Huckleberry Finn takes place along a stretch of the Mississippi River. This is an area that Mark Twain knew well. It includes his home town of Hannibal (known as St. Petersburg in the book) and various other well known cities down the river such as New Orleans, and St.
Louis. The river and the surrounding areas are revered and seen as a grand layout for some great adventures giving the mood of adventures to the story. The settings of the house of the widow Douglass and the Phelp house serve to symbolize society and life in society. During these passages, the mood of the story is somewhat cramped compared to the trip down the river. 6.
Themes 1. There is an emphasis on the river as a haven from society and a source for adventure. Huck travels down the river and is provided tools such as the raft, and adventure from the river. It is seen as separate from the surrounding areas and separate from civilization. 2.
There is a theme of growth and rebirth in Huck throughout the story. After each adventure, Huck learns something new and become a new person. 3. Another theme in the story is that society is wrong. As Huck trav …