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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. Mark Twain. 1835-1910 Born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri His father moved the family to Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. Discovered a love for steamboats that filled the Mississippi River.

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mark twain
Mark Twain
  • 1835-1910
  • Born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri
  • His father moved the family to Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi River.
    • Discovered a love for steamboats that filled the Mississippi River.
  • At 17, he left home to work as a printer’s assistant.
    • Returned home at 21 to be a steamboat pilot – his dream job.
    • Received his pen name “Mark Twain” from boat, dealing with marking water depth - Twain = 12 ft.
    • Job was cut short by the start of the Civil War in 1861.
  • Active in Civil War with Confederates, but abandoned military life quickly to be a gold prospector in Nevada.
    • Didn’t get rich, but became inspired through storytelling
  • In 1871, he moved to Connecticut and built a large home that is visited today by thousands of tourists yearly.
  • Began publishing work (including Roughing It and Life on the Mississippi)
mark twain1
Mark Twain
  • Began writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
    • Tone and voice difficulties / couldn’t decide if he was writing for children or adults
  • In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Twain found the voice he was seeking.
  • Most celebrated humorist in American history and literature.
  • In addition to being a humorist, he is also labeled as a Realist (a bit ironic)
  • Behind the humor in his literature, exists a revelation of reality
  • Could never duplicate the success of Huck Finn, but continued to write
  • His later years were filled with financial, professional and personal tragedy
  • Bankruptcy
  • Death – oldest daughter in 1896 (meningitis), wife in 1904 (chronic illness), and youngest daughter in 1909 (epileptic seizure)
  • “I know now what the soldier feels when a bullet crashes through his heart.”
the adventures of huckleberry finn1
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Genre · a quest or journey; satire of popular adventure and romance novels; novel of education or moral development
  • Language · English; frequently makes use of Southern and black dialects of the time
  • Time and place written · 1876–1883; Hartford, Connecticut, and Elmira, New York
  • Date of first publication · 1884
  • Setting (time) · Before the Civil War; roughly 1835–1845; Twain said the novel was set forty to fifty years before the time of its publication
  • Setting (place) · The Mississippi River town of St. Petersburg, Missouri; various locations along the river through Arkansas(a small town modeled on his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri)
  • Point of view · Huck’s point of view, although Twain occasionally indulges in digressions in which he shows off his own ironic wit
  • Tone · Frequently ironic or mocking, also contemplative, as Huck seeks to decipher the world around him; sometimes boyish and exuberant
the adventures of huckleberry finn2
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • A novel that contains serious motives and moral lessons = a bit unlike Twain’s previous style, which was more humorous
  • In some ways, Huck Finn is a sequel to Tom Sawyer.
    • Huck was an important member of Tom’s group of friends in the earlier novel, and Jim appeared as well.
  • The earlier novel (Tom Sawyer) tells of the good times had by all and is recognized as one of American literature’s finest portrayals of a happy childhood.
    • Readers, therefore had reason to expect more lighthearted escapades and harmless ideas in Huck Finn.
  • The structure of Huck Finn centers around a journey, allowing Huck and Jim to meet many different kinds of people.
  • The society of the small towns and villages along the great river mirrors American society as a whole, with all its variety.
  • The cast of characters includes many personalities with whom Twain was familiar: liars, cheaters, and hypocrites.
the adventures of huckleberry finn3
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Twain is especially bitter about the ways slavery degraded the moral fabric of life along the river.
    • He grew up thinking there was nothing wrong with a system that enslaved human beings.
  • The novels shows that people can make the right decisions and defy injustice, that an individual’s moral beliefs can lead him or her to reject what is wrong in society, and that sound personal values can overcome evil.