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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By Mark Twain Excellence in Literature Unit 6. Literature Lecture. Finish Plagiarism syllabus pp 26-28 Read Excellence in Literature p 74. Go over quiz. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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the adventures of huckleberry finn

The Adventures ofHuckleberry Finn


Mark Twain

Excellence in Literature Unit 6

literature lecture
Literature Lecture
  • Finish Plagiarism
    • syllabus pp 26-28
  • Read Excellence in Literature
    • p 74.
  • Go over quiz.
the adventures of huckleberry finn1
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Sequel to Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, based on Twain’s own boyhood in Hannibal, MO.
  • Draws on Clemens's childhood in Hannibal, memories of…
    • The unfairness of slavery.
    • The punishments endured by slaves and those that aided them when they were caught.
    • The generosity of the whites who aided runaway slaves.
the adventures of huckleberry finn controversy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - controversy
  • Regarded by many as the greatest literary achievement America has yet produced.
  • Inspired by many of the author's own experiences as a river-boat pilot, the book tells of two runaways—a white boy and a black man—and their journey down the mighty Mississippi River.
  • When the book first appeared, it scandalized reviewers and parents who thought it would corrupt young children with its depiction of a hero who
    • Lies
    • Steals
    • Uses coarse language.
controversy continues
Controversy continues
  • In the last half of the twentieth century and beyond, the condemnation of the book has continued on the grounds that its racist because of its
    • portrayal of Jim – uneducated & superstitious
    • use of the “N-word,” a racial epithet.
  • The novel continues to appear on lists of books banned in schools across the country.
the novel is also praised
The Novel is also praised
  • Critics dub it "the great American novel” because of
    • Its strong point of view
    • Skillful depiction of dialects
    • Confrontation of issues of race and prejudice
  • Ernest Hemingway claimed that "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huck Finn. . . . There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."
period of realism naturalism
Period of Realism/Naturalism
  • Time period
    • From 1865 – end of Civil War…
    • To 1914 – Beginning of WWI
  • History of America during this time
    • Disappearance of the American frontier due to growing population of the West
    • Disappearance of cattle drives
    • Emergence of the railroad
    • Disappearance of herds of buffalo
    • Emergence of the automobile
    • The era of flight (Wright Brothers 1903)
american difficulties during this period
American Difficulties during this period
  • Reconstruction of the South following the Civil War
  • Social and political struggles over issues of race and the rights of the African Americans newly released from slavery
  • Vote for all males - Finally a constitutional amendment passed that granted all adult males the right to vote, regardless of race.
  • Still no Equality for Women - Women were still denied the right to vote, and the woman’s suffrage movement gained momentum.
  • Corruption on financial and political fronts
  • A depression (not the Great Depression)
  • A series of railroad strikes
new forces in america
New Forces in America
  • The country’s rapid industrialization
    • Change from an agricultural society to a highly industrialized one
    • Nearly 40% of all Americans lived in cities by the end of the 19th century.
    • Labor organizations emerged.
  • Darwin’s theory of evolution
    • Rejection of God / an assault on faith in God.
    • “Survival of the fittest” philosophy in life
    • Scientists disregarded the principle of scientific objectivity that demanded observation and testing before accepting a theory.
    • Karl Marx (father of communism) dedicated his Das Kapital to Darwin.
realism in literature
Realism in Literature
  • Realism for writers of the late 19th century emphasized the world was controlled by
    • Blind chance
    • Nature
    • Fate
  • Realists attempted to accurately describe
    • Scenery
    • People
  • Realist writers sought to narrate their novels from an objective, unbiased perspective that simply and clearly represented the factual elements of the story.
realist writers
Realist WRiters
  • Became masters at
    • Psychological characterization
    • Detailed descriptions of everyday life in realistic settings
    • dialogue that captures the idioms of natural human speech.
  • Endeavored to accurately represent
    • Contemporary culture
    • People from all walks of life.
  • Thus, realist writers often addressed themes of socioeconomic conflict by contrasting the living conditions of the poor with those of the upper classes in urban as well as rural societies.
naturalism in literature
Naturalism in literature
  • Naturalism was an offshoot of Realism.
  • It was a literary movement that placed even greater emphasis on the accurate representation of details from contemporary life.
  • In the United States, Regionalism and local color fiction in particular were American offshoots of Realism.

The Period of Realism/ Naturalism affected ALL of the arts, not just literature.

Grant Wood American Gothic(1930) oil on canvas

Art Institute of Chicago

samuel clemens mark twain
Samuel Clemens…Mark Twain
  • What did you learn from your author profile?
mark twain 1835 1910
Mark Twain 1835-1910
  • Best known as Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens was born 30 November 1835 and raised in Hannibal, Missouri.
  • During his youth, he delighted in the rowdy play of boys on the Mississippi River and became exposed to the institution of slavery.

mark twain 1835 19101

Samuel Clemens, age 15

Mark Twain - 1835-1910
  • He began to work as a typesetter for a number of Hannibal newspapers at the age of twelve.
  • In the late 1850s, he became a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River.
  • This job taught him the dangers of navigating the river at night and gave him a firsthand understanding of the river's beauty and perils.
  • These would later be depicted in the books Life on the Mississippi and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
mark twain

Mark Twain in his gown (scarlet with grey sleeves and facings) for his D.Litt. degree, awarded to him by Oxford University

Mark Twain
  • Worked out west as a reporter for various newspapers
  • Adopted the pseudonym Mark Twain, taken from the riverboat slang that means water is at least two fathoms (twelve feet) deep and thus easily travelled.
  • His second book, The Innocents Abroad, a collection of satirical travel letters the author wrote from Europe, was an outstanding success.
  • Clemens married Olivia Langdon and moved to the East, where he lived for the rest of his life.
  • In the East, Clemens had to confront the attitudes of the eastern upper class, a group to which he felt he never belonged.
mark twain religion
Mark Twain - Religion
  • Raised Presbyterian, but did not follow his roots.
  • VERY critical of religion: He wrote, for example, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so," and "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be—a Christian.”
  • Twain stated that he believed in an almighty God, but not in any messages, revelations, holy scriptures such as the Bible, Providence, or retribution in the afterlife.
  • He did state that "the goodness, the justice, and the mercy of God are manifested in His works," but also that "the universe is governed by strict and immutable laws," which determine "small matters," such as who dies in a pestilence.
mark twain religion1
Mark Twain - Religion
  • At other times he wrote or spoke in ways that contradicted a strict deist view, for example, plainly professing a belief in Providence.
  • In some later writings in the 1890s, he was less optimistic about the goodness of God, observing that "if our Maker is all-powerful for good or evil, He is not in His right mind."
  • At other times, he conjectured sardonically that perhaps God had created the world with all its tortures for some purpose of His own, but was otherwise indifferent to humanity, which was too petty and insignificant to deserve His attention anyway.
quotes on religion
Quotes on Religion
  • On the Bible – “It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”
  • “The Christian's Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same, but the medical practice changes.”
  • “Alas! those good old days are gone, when a murderer could wipe the stain from his name and soothe his trouble to sleep simply by getting out his blocks and mortar and building an addition to a church.”
  • “Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain.”
  • “I have a religion—but you will call it blasphemy. It is that there is a God for the rich man but none for the poor.....Perhaps your religion will sustain you, will feed you—I place no dependence in mine. Our religions are alike, though, in one respect—neither can make a man happy when he is out of luck.”


  • noun 1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
  • 2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
  • 3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.

twain and satire
Twain and Satire
  • Throughout Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses satire to attack what he sees as the hypocritical views of the midwestern society.
  • Nothing is sacred to his words, especially not slavery, politics, human nature, or religion.
  • From the first chapter with Miss Watson's preaching about heaven and hell to the performance of the Royal Nonesuch to the dramatic escape planned for Jim, Twain infuses the story with satire to the detriment of our opinion of the river society he is describing.

twain and satire1
Twain and Satire
  • Overall satire is a key defining feature of Huckleberry Finn, and Twain makes good use of it to poke fun at American and especially midwestern society.
  • Throughout the story satire keeps coming back to laugh at the characters and their settings and tell us how Twain really feels.

annotation key
Annotation key

Code  Meaning – Mark these in a circle in the margin

  • R - Twain’s feelings about religion
  • S - Superstition – usually Huck or Jim
  • FS - Foreshadowing
  • TS - Tom Sawyer – Huck idolizes him and frequently wonders what Tom Sawyer would do.
  • MS - Mississippi River – Huck’s feelings about it / the river is almost a character in the book
  • SL - Slavery – how it affects Jim, how Huck grows to feel about it
  • M - Morals – Huck’s own set of morals/his own brand of integrity
mississippi river
Mississippi River
  • Contained entirely within the US.
  • Largest river system in North America.
  • 4th longest and 10th largest in the world.
  • Drains all or part of 31 states between the Rocky and Appalachian Mtns.
  • Mississippi River Valley is one of the most fertile agricultural regions of the US.
  • More than 2300 miles long, and up to 4 miles wide in some places.
  • "The Great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun.“

Mark Twain

  • "A raindrop falling at Lake Itasca (at the Mississippi headwaters) would arrive at the Gulf of Mexico in about 90 days."National Park Service
notice at book s beginning
“Notice” at book’s beginning

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.



discussion chpt 1
Discussion – chpt 1
  • Twain starts off by having Huck accuse Twain of stretching the truth in an earlier book.
  • Widow Douglas – trying to “sivilize” Huck
  • Her sister, Miss Watson, is a source of distress to Huck. Why?
  • Why does he figure he’d rather be in hell than in heaven?
  • What sound calls him from the window?
discussion chpt 2
Discussion – chpt 2
  • Tom wants to prank Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, as he an Huck head out for the night. What prank?
  • Tom heads a gang of ________.
  • Where does Tom get his crazy ideas?
  • Tom’s an idealist (romantic)…Huck a realist.
  • Huck keeps assuming Tom is smarter than Huck. What do you think?
  • Does Twain expect the reader to be as naïve as Huck?
discussion chpt 3
Discussion – chpt 3
  • Miss Watson tells Huck he might get better if he prays. He wonders, “If prayer is so powerful, then ______?
  • He decides there must be two Providences (Gods). What are they?
  • What do you think Twain is saying about God?
  • What do you think about his self esteem?
  • Who do Tom’s Spaniards and A-rabs turn out to be?
  • Discuss the genie incident.
  • Tom’s tales “had all the marks of a Sunday School.” What does that mean?
how to quote and document cite
How to Quote and Document (Cite)
  • Short quotations (four lines or fewer) should be placed in quotation marks. If you do not tell the name of the author prior to the quote, follow it with the author’s last name and the page number of the source of the quote in parenthesis.
    •  He remembered her last words to him: “I know you will always be good and kind. Try to live as I have taught you and love your heavenly Father” (Eibling and Gilmartin 176).
  •  Note that there is no comma between the author and the number, and that the period follows the parenthesis.
  •  If you mention the author with your quote, put only the page number in the parenthesis.
    • Angler believes that he was thinking of her when he remarked, “God bless my mother; all that I am I owe to her” (312).
how to cite
How to Cite
  • It is preferred to introduce quotes with a signal phrase that tells the source of the quote, as above.
  •  Longer quotations (more than four lines) must be set off from the rest of the paragraph in what is called an inset quotation. To do this, the quoted material is indented ten spaces or one inch on the left and no quotation marks are used.
    • One book influenced Lincoln more than any other. Angler explains:

Although he did not attend church regularly, Lincoln became a man of deep religious feelings. The Bible was probably the only book his parents ever owned. Abraham came to know it thoroughly. Biblical references and quotations enriched his later writings and speeches. As president, he kept a Bible on his desk and often opened it for comfort and guidance. (313)

  • Note that the colon goes before the inset quotation. Also note that the with the inset quotations, the period is before the parenthesis.
how to cite special considerations
How to Cite - Special considerations
  • If a book has more than three authors, list only the first author’s last name followed by “et al.” and then the page number.
    •  Abraham Lincoln is known as “the president who saved the Union” (Smith et al. 75).
  •    If the author is unknown, use a key word from the title instead. Underline if it is from a book title; place quotation marks if it is from an article. Your reader should be able to match the word to a title in your Works Cited page.
    •  “Probably no American has been so much written about as Abraham Lincoln and seldom has any man had his life, mind, and character so distorted” (Words 7).
how to cite special considerations1
How to Cite - Special considerations
  • If there are not page numbers, such as with short Internet articles, use paragraph numbers instead.
  • Quotations from the Bible are simply followed by the reference and Bible version.
    • “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the street” (Proverbs 1:20 KJV).
critique vocabulary syllabus p 19


  • Types of Stories: allegory, tale, fairy tale, saga, narrative, epic, legend, mystery, comedy, anecdote, myth, science fiction, adventure, fable, folk tale, anti-utopian, biography, drama, devotional, spiritual
  • Setting/Mood: bright, cheerful, lively, sad, solemn, tragic, comical, fun, light-hearted, whimsical, fanciful, mysterious, eerie, suspenseful, bleak, dreary, peaceful, chaotic, violent, foreboding, spiritual, cynical, satiric, tongue-in-cheek
critique vocabulary syllabus p 191


  • Synonyms: hero, villain, protagonist, antagonist, players, participants
  • Role: central, dominant, main, leading, major, minor, subordinate, lesser, supporting, shadowy, secondary
  • Analysis: well (or poorly) drawn, fully (or under) developed, convincing or unconvincing, consistent, static (unchanging), dynamic (changing), lifeless, too predictable, overly evil, not believable, typical
critique vocabulary syllabus p 192


  • Synonyms: problem, dilemma, desire, plan, conspiracy, scheme of events, chain of events, sequence of events
  • Stages: began, initiated, driven, promoted, continued, expanded, exacerbated, heightened, lessened, relieved
critique vocabulary syllabus p 193


  • Climax: turning point, most exciting moment, dramatic event, change in events, high point, emotional crisis
  • Resolution: solution, remedy, fix, amelioration
  • Theme: message, moral, teaching, lesson, subject, inspiration, Application
critique vocabulary syllabus p 194


  • Opinion: enjoyable, inspiring, dull, trite, too predictable, unique, fascinating, captivating, suspenseful, thrilling, convincing, convicting, compelling, obscure, thought-provoking, clear, poignant, pointed, sketchy, unrealistic
  • Literary Devices: point of view (first, second, third person), foreshadowing, irony, symbolism, flashbacks, quality of language (simple, archaic, verbose, descriptive), poetic devises, decorations
discussion chpt 4 begin 2 9
Discussion – chpt 4 begin 2/9
  • We’ve learned Huck is superstitious.
  • Why do the boot prints in the snow make Huck go see Judge Thatcher?
  • What does Huck have the judge do with the $?
  • What do we learn about Huck’s morals and lying?
  • Describe Pap.
  • Huck and Jim both believe Jim’s hair-ball has magical powers. He wants Jim to predict what Pap is planning to do. Does the hair-ball help?
  • Describe Jim.
  • Is Twain portraying Jim negatively?
discussion chpt 5
Discussion – chpt 5
  • How does Pap see Huck?
  • Illiteracy seems to be a mark of family pride!
  • Why can’t Huck give Pap his money ($6000)?
  • A Judge won’t take Huck away from Pap and then tries to help reform Pap. How?
  • How does that turn out?
discussion chpt 6
Discussion – chpt 6
  • Pap beats Huck for doing what?
  • What does Huck love and hate about living with Pap again after he’s kidnapped?
  • In Pap’s government speech, what do we learn about Twain’s views on racial bigotry?
  • In that speech, to whom does Pap feel superior?
  • What does Huck do to protect himself after Pap passes out?
discussion chpt 7
Discussion – chpt 7
  • Pap remembers nothing when he wakes up.
  • Why is Huck able to lie about why he’s holding the rifle when he couldn’t lie about having $6000? Are there any differences in the two lies?
  • An escape plan forms when Huck finds an abandoned canoe. What are the details?
  • Read Huck’s description of the river (p 26): “The sky looks ever so deep…” When he talks about the river his voice changes, his language becoming gentler, less harsh, poetic.
  • Huck loves the river the way most of us love people.
  • Where does he head for the first night?
discussion chpt 8
Discussion – chpt 8
  • What is the cannon fire about?
  • Huck sees whom on the boat?
  • Most people would abandon their runaway plot seeing the grieving faces of those they love.
  • Is he just in control of his emotions? Does he really not care about them? Does he just not understand their sorrow?
  • Maybe…since he doesn’t think much of himself, he finds it hard to believe they think much of him.
  • What does he realize when he sees the campfire?
  • What frightens Jim?
discussion chpt 8 cont d
Discussion – chpt 8 cont’d
  • Why is Huck so shocked about Jim running away?
  • Remember he grew up with people who believe slave stealing was as serious as committing murder.
  • What does Huck know he’ll be called for helping Jim?
  • HUGE decision here. Huck is someone who has decided to turn his back on everything “home” stands for, even one of its most cherished beliefs.
  • Discuss Jim’s story of his investments.
  • Look at the “punch line” chapter 8. Explain.
discussion chpt 9
Discussion – chpt 9
  • Without stating it, Huck and Jim have decided to be outcasts together.
  • Look at Huck’s poetic description of rain
  • (p 37)
  • They acquire what from the flooding river?
  • What do they find in the house that floats by?
  • Jim’s behavior might be a little puzzling here, but it will be explained later.
discussion chpt 10
Discussion – chpt 10
  • What does Jim say about unburied corpses when Huck brings up the dead man?
  • Much talk in this chapter about bad luck and its causes. You can almost hear Twain laughing over some of the superstitions he believed when he was a boy.
  • Bad luck – rattlesnake handling. Explain.
  • The bad luck may take a long time (2 yrs or more), but they believe it will come.
  • You can see that the world is an endlessly threatening place to Jim. No wonder he’s superstitious: no status as a human, can be beaten or killed, is a piece of property to be bought or sold, can be separated from family.
discussion chpt 10 cont d
Discussion – chpt 10 cont’d
  • Why might the world also be an endlessly threatening place to Huck?
    • Father is a cruel drunk. He’s beaten and treated like dirt. Thinks lowly of himself as a result.
  • Differences between Huck and Jim?
    • Black vs white / man vs boy
  • In most cases Huck ends up accepting what Jim tells him. However, his mind is not set yet…can grow and change. He’s only 14.
  • Why does Huck dress up like a girl?
discussion chpt 11
Discussion – chpt 11
  • What lie does he tell as a girl?
  • Think about his apparently contradictory attitude toward telling the truth.
  • What does he learn from his undercover operation?
  • What clues give him away?
  • What sad story does he tell to cover himself?
  • He rushes back to left Jim know, “They’re after us!”
  • Their long journey down the Mississippi River has begun.
discussion chpt 12
Discussion – chpt 12
  • With this chpt, the main part of the book begins. All of the previous was back story.
  • Raft – 12 x 16 ft with wigwam on top.
  • Moving description of MS (p48) and passing St. Louis.
  • Going ashore to “borrow,” Twain again making us laugh but reminding us about Huck’s morals, as skewed as they are.
  • Disabled steamboat, the “Walter Scott”
    • Sir Walter Scott, author of Ivanhoe was a 19th century British novelist. Twain often wrote scathing criticisms of such novels, believing they were written by hacks who knew little about the real world and real people.
  • Can’t NOT investigate: he says, “Tom Sawyer wouldn’t back out now!”
discussion chpt 13
Discussion – chpt 13
  • They escape in the steamboat’s skiff after their own raft breaks loose while the thieves go back to recover money from their victim.
  • What does Huck begin to worry about while searching for the raft in the dark?
  • Huck’s answer…again the champion liar/yarn spinner.
  • We see Huck’s quick mind and his understanding of what makes people tick—works in Jim Hornback’s name.
  • Wishes the widow “knowed” about it. Thought she’d be proud, though he doesn’t understand why good people help “rapscallions” and “dead-beats.”
homework feb 2
Homework – Feb 2
  • Literature
    • Read Huckleberry Finn- chpts 14-22
      • Online Quiz
    • Read emailed article “One Hundred Years of Huck Finn.”
      • Online Quiz
  • Journal entry – your choice / 150 word minimum
  • Wordly Wise – Lesson 17 & online quiz
  • FixIt! - 19 / copy 18 into composition book– corrections from email
  • Composition
    • Look over writing assignments, p 81
    • Due Feb 16 (in two weeks) Week 2 assignment, p 81
      • Approach Paper – pp 110-113 / Explanation and Example
    • Due Feb 23 ( in three weeks) Week 3 assignment, p 81
      • 750 Word Essay – pick one.
  • Freedom
  • Conscience
  • Race/Racism
  • The Hypocrisy of “Civilized” Society
discussion chpt 14
Discussion – chpt 14
  • How did Jim feel about Huck’s “adventure” on the Walter Scott?
  • Which king was familiar to Jim?
  • Why does Jim consider this king a fool?
  • Who was the French king who was beheaded?
  • Who was his son?
  • Tell about Huck and Jim’s conversation about the French language.
discussion chpt 15
Discussion – chpt 15
  • Why are Huck and Jim separated in the fog?
  • What kind of trick does Huck play on Jim?
  • How does Jim feel about the trick?
  • How many nights will it take to get to Cairo?
  • Where has Huck learned about kings?
  • Which river will Huck and Jim travel to get to the free states?
discussion chpt 16
Discussion – chpt 16
  • Why does Huck’s conscience bother him as they approach what they think is Cairo?
  • What does Huck tell the slave hunters about his predicament?
  • What do the men in the skiff do for Huck?
  • Does Huck feel better after he has protected Jim from the slave hunters?
  • What destroys the raft?
  • How can Huck and Jim tell that they have missed Cairo in the fog?
      • Clear water from the Ohio is drifting into the muddy Mississippi.
  • Why does Jim think they have had such bad luck?
discussion chpt 17
Discussion – chpt 17
  • Who do the Grangerfords think Huck might be when the dogs bark at him?
  • Why does Huck go into long descriptions of the furnishings and pictures in the Grangerford’s house?
    • Twain is using satire to attack sentimentalism and bad taste in art and in home furnishings.
  • Describe the deceased daughter Emmeline’s artwork.
    • Twain pokes fun at Victorian literature’s propensity for mourning and melancholy.
  • What has happened to Jim in these chapters?
discussion chpt 18
Discussion – chpt 18
  • Why are the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons feuding?
      • Yet another conceit taken from romantic literature, specifically that literature’s concern with family honor. The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons are rather like Tom Sawyer grown up and armed with weapons.
  • What secret does Miss Sophia ask Huck to keep?
  • What happens to Miss Sophia Grangerford and Harney Shepherdson after the shooting starts?
discussion chpt 19
Discussion – chpt 19
  • Who leads Huck to Jim?
  • Do Huck and Jim expect to paddle their newly-found canoe up the Ohio River?
  • Where is Huck while the shooting is going on?
  • After the shootout, when Huck pulls the men out of the river, who does he recognize, and what has happened to him?
  • How does Jim feel when he sees Huck again? What does he think has happened to him?
  • Why does Huck think the duke and the king are after him when they first meet?
  • Describe the duke and the king.
  • Satire on the name “Bilgewater.”
discussion chpt 20
Discussion – chpt 20
  • How does Huck explain the fact that they travel at night and sleep during the day?
  • What do the people at the camp meeting expect the king to do with the money they collect for him?
  • How does Jim treat Huck during the storm at night?
    • Jim is becoming a mother and father figure to Huck.
  • How do the duke and the king plan to make it safe for Jim to travel during the day?
discussion chpt 21
Discussion – chpt 21
  • What does the duke mean when he says he will call back Hamlet’s soliloquy from “recollection’s vaults”?
  • Why is the duke’s version of Hamlet’s soliloquy confusing?
    • Not Hamlet’s soliloquy. It contains jumbled lines from several of Shakespeare’s plays, and it makes no sense.
  • Who is assigned the role of Juliet in the “Shakespearean Revival”?
  • Why does Colonel Sherburn murder Boggs?
  • What is Colonel Sherburn’s ultimatum in regard to Boggs?
  • Who is called for to quiet Boggs down?
discussion chpt 22
Discussion – chpt 22
  • Who faces the mob single-handed?
  • Who is Twain satirizing in this situation?
    • Twain is satirizing the lynch mobs who come like cowards after dark wearing masks. He thinks mob activity is cowardly.
analysis chapters 20 22
Analysis: Chapters 20–22
  • Although these chapters involving the duke and the dauphin appear purely comic, a dark commentary undercuts the comedy in virtually every episode.
  • The duke & king appear to be just two bumbling con men, but they present an immediate threat to Huck and Jim.
  • The two men cruelly toy with Jim’s precarious status as a runaway and use this fact for their own gain when they print the leaflet advertising a reward for Jim’s capture.

analysis chapters 20 221
Analysis: Chapters 20–22
  • Moreover, the fact that the duke and the dauphin run their first scam at a sacred event—a religious meeting—demonstrates their incredible malice.
  • At the same time, however, it also suggests that the religious revival meeting may be as much of a scam as any of the “royal” pair’s shenanigans.
  • Continuing the pattern that we have seen throughout Huckleberry Finn, nearly everyone Huck and Jim encounter on the river is an unsavory character or a fake in one way or another.

analysis chapters 20 22 cont d
Analysis: Chapters 20–22 cont’d
  • Sherburn’s murder of the drunk and the subsequent mob scene continue this vein of simultaneous absurdity and seriousness in the novel and contribute to the sense of moral confusion in the town.
  • Although Sherburn’s shooting of the drunk is cold-blooded, his speech to the angry mob is among the most profound meditations on human nature in Huckleberry Finn.

analysis chapters 20 22 cont d1
Analysis: Chapters 20–22 cont’d
  • Sherburn’s criticisms of the cowardice and despicable behavior of his fellow citizens are accurate, and his eloquence is impressive.
  • Furthermore, much of what he has to say about cowardice applies directly to the townspeople's behavior, which has put Huck and Jim in peril in the first place. All the while, however, we are aware that this thoughtful speech comes from the man who has just shot a defenseless drunk. Like Huck, we are confused and disoriented.

  • Freedom
      • From what is Huck seeking freedom?
        • Civilization (school, church, responsibility?)
        • Pap
      • What about Jim?
        • More concrete idea of freedom than Huck’s
        • Freedom from slavery
        • Freedom from being separated from his family
  • Conscience
      • Huck’s main struggle in the book
      • The morals with which he’s been raised vs his new friendship with Jim
      • Later in the book, faces having to actually free Jim, not just protect him
      • Listens to his heart, rather than his conscience, because his conscience tells him what he’s doing is wrong
  • Race and Racism
      • Huck’s views evolve over the course of the book.
      • He’s cared for by “good” ladies, the Widow Douglas, Miss Watson, and Aunt Polly, who own slaves and show no concern over separating Jim from his family or the injustice of slavery.
      • He grew up with Pap's rantings, like that over a free black man, indicating Pap’s deep racial prejudice.
      • Nevertheless, the fact that Huck does learn to see beyond racial stereotypes in the case of Jim is a profound development, considering his upbringing.
      • Comes to respect Jim as a human being.
      • However, Huck never verbally condemns slavery.
  • The Hypocrisy of “Civilized” Society
      • Not just avoiding baths and mandatory school, but a system of degraded rules that defy logic
      • Examples:
        • Judge lets Pap keep Huck…the same world that lets one man own another.
        • Grangerfords and Shepherdsons killing each other over a reason long forgotten.
        • Terrible acts go unpunished, yet frivolous crimes, such as drunkenly shouting insults, lead to executions.
        • Twain’s view on society in Huckleberry Finn is summed up in Sherburn’s speech to the mob that has come to lynch him: rather than looking out for the good of all, society is characterized by cowardice, a lack of logic, and intense selfishness.
  • The Mississippi River
    • The ultimate symbol of freedom.
      • Jim – taking him toward the free states
      • Huck – taking him away from Pap and “sivilizing”
    • Much like the river itself, Huck and Jim are in flux, willing to change their attitudes about each other with little prompting.
    • The river in turmoil reflects the turmoil in Jim’s and Huck’s lives (floods, fog, storms, wrecks, criminals, stolen goods).
  • The Mississippi River cont’d
    • Each escape exists in the larger context of a continual drift southward, toward the Deep South and entrenched slavery.
    • In this transition from idyllic retreat to source of peril, the river mirrors the complicated state of the South.
    • As Huck and Jim’s journey progresses, the river, which once seemed a paradise and a source of freedom, becomes merely a short-term means of escape that nonetheless pushes Huck and Jim ever further toward danger and destruction.