Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. The Novel. Immediate Success Despite financial crisis of post Civil War Took years to write, with long interruptions Written for adults, popular with children Became a classic Published in at least 27 languages. B. Banning the Book. Attacked for its –
Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
The Novel • Immediate Success Despite financial crisis of post Civil War Took years to write, with long interruptions Written for adults, popular with children Became a classic Published in at least 27 languages
B. Banning the Book Attacked for its – Indecency Racism Bigotry
History leading up to Huck Finn
Missouri wanted into the Union 1818 The country had grown from 13 colonies/states to 22. There were 11 slave states and 11 free states. Both factions had equal representation in the Senate. The House had more representatives (105 votes to 81) because the free states had more population.
New York Representative James Tallmadge . . . Proposed an amendment to ban slavery in Missouri even though there were more than 2,000 slaves living there. The country was again confronted with the volatile issue of the spread of slavery into new territories and states.
"How long will the desire for wealth render us blind to the sin of holding both the bodies and souls of our fellow men in chains?" Asked Representative Livermore from New Hampshire.
200 years of slavery The South's economy was dependent upon black slavery, and 200 years of living with the “peculiar institution” had made it an integral part of Southern life and culture. The South demanded that the North recognize its right to have slaves as secured in the Constitution.
Henry Clay – ‘the great pacifier’ Maine also wanted into the Union. Clay reached a compromise (The Missouri Compromise) and admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine a free state, thus delaying the inevitable conflict. The balance of power in Congress was maintained.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 As states were accepted into the Union a fear arose over the balance of power– Who would have more power in the Senate – Slave states or free states?
b. Missouri CompromiseRepealed in 1854 The Missouri Compromise was repealed by the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act and declared unconstitutional in the 1857 Dred Scott decision.
c. Dred-Scott Decision 1857 all blacks -- slaves as well as free -- were not and could never become citizens of the United States. Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney
News article from 1857 A free booklet, presenting the Historical” “Legal” and “physical” differences between the negro and white forcibly presented
Dred Scott (1799-1858) The Supreme Court ruled seven to two that no person of African ancestry could claim citizenship. Case closed!
Justice Taney’s position: The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it."
Continued . . . Referring to the language in the Declaration of Independence that includes the phrase, "all men are created equal," Taney reasoned that "it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . ."
Frederick Douglass commented: "my hopes were never brighter than now." For Douglass, the decision would bring slavery to the attention of the nation and was a step toward slavery's ultimate destruction.
d. Lincoln’s House Divided Speech "A house divided against itself cannot stand," Courageous but not P.C. in 1858 from a newby senator!
Lincoln’s speech 1858 “Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention. If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.
Matthew 12:25 "A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Lincoln continues . . . “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
A moderate becomes firmly grounded Stephen Douglas would twist Lincoln's meaning and paint him as a warmonger and radical abolitionist. But as part of Lincoln's legacy, the House Divided Speech marked the point at which Abraham Lincoln, local politician, firmly planted his stake in the ground on a highly-charged national issue.
The 16th President Abraham Lincoln Feb. 12, 1809 to April 15th, 1865 Elected in 1860, reelected in 1864
The Civil War 1861 - 1865
Lincoln Assassinated April 15th, 1865<><><><>Image from Harper’s Weekly April 1865
14th amendment (1867) Passed to give freed slaves citizenship and civil liberties. Most southern states refused to ratify this amendment so it was imposed by further legislation. The 1867 Reconstruction Act allowed readmission to the Union by southern states after they ratified the 14th Amendment.
C. The Setting of Huck Finn – The Antebellum South The story is set in 1852 in antebellum (pre war) Missouri Twain lives in the Post-war era of Reconstruction Rebuilding the nation The South rejects integration
a. Jim Crow Laws Post Civil War Reconstruction enforced integration – “We’ll make you integrate!” The Jim Crow Laws stripped away this forced integration “No, you can’t!”
a. Jim Crow Laws A.M.E. Church InPhiladelphia in 1816 African-Americans formed a new Wesleyan denomination, The African Methodist Episcopal Church
The A.M.E. . . Launched a major missionary effort after the war and was a leading source of resistance to Jim Crow Laws.
a. Jim Crow Laws No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed. Alabama
a. Jim Crow Laws The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately. Florida
a. Jim Crow Laws It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment. Alabama
II. The Author Samuel Clemens 1835-1910 Mark Twain
St. Petersburg The fictional town where Huckleberry Finn begins
B. Missouri A slave state
In Missouri, most slaves worked as domestic servants, rather than on the large plantations that most slaves experienced further south. Clemens’ family owned slaves. This domestic-style slavery is what Twain describes in Huckleberry Finn, even when the action occurs in the deep South.
The river The Mississippi River is the perfect plot element! The story progresses from one adventure to another as the characters move further down river
C. Twain will use his characters, and humor, to make a point Twain uses satire to expose the social ills of his day. He uses the vernacular of an unschooled boy and an ignorant-yet-wise slave to make fun of religious hypocrites – especially those who support oppression of African-Americans!
An important note from the author . . . Notice “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. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR Per G.G., CHIEF OF ORDNANCE”
Twain is using irony, saying one thing but meaning the opposite of its literal definition. He is using this irony humorously, covering this declaration of the book's seriousness in a joke.
The two most important characters HUCK JIM
A. Huckleberry Finn • The protagonist of the novel • The narrator of the novel • A classic “Noble Savage’ character • Huck’s society was hypocritical, unjust, blind, and ignorant • This is the statement Samuel Clemens is making to the world through satire. The negative aspects of Huck’s character come from his exposure to civilization.
2. Huck’s Conflict Between what society says is right and what his moral conscience says is right Twain uses an ignorant boy to make his point – the world is wrong!
B. JIM • An escaped slave • Probably the best developed character in the novel • The best father figure in the book