Title: “TheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn”2. Author: Mark Twain3. Date Published:18844.
Literary Period:From 1865 to 1900, America was in the Realism period, and Mark Twain conveyedhis messages through an accurate and plausible depiction of events to advancethe idea that many of the problems societies face are real and tangible.5. Important Terms: · Dauphin – The heirapparent of France whose identity was unknown following the French Revolutionas he was rumored to have escaped alive· Literary Realism:Attempts to portray events as they would happen in real life, excludesfantasies and myth from actually occurring· Ark of Bulrushes:The makeshift boat that carried Moses to freedom from the Pharaoh’s order tokill male Hebrew children· Hamlet’sSoliloquy: A soliloquy by Shakespeare that explores the implications of death· Quest Archetype: Acharacter who goes on a journey for a stated purpose, yet thought he obstaclesthey may encounter and the final situation they find themselves in finds outtheir true purpose was in self-discovery· Bible Archetype:An archetype that relates to the novel when Huck and Jim find themselves on aparadise with fruit in abundance and the danger of snakesCharacters:1.
Protagonists· Huckleberry Finn –Huck Finn is a thirteen-year-old boy who narrates the novel through his pointof view. He details how, after the events of the previous novel “The Adventuresof Tom Sawyer,” he was left with the Widow Douglass who taught him Biblestories and gave him an education. Yet, after being kidnapped by his father,escapes with Jim down the Mississippi River. Huck is driven by his desire toescape civilization and the forces that brought him to pap, not to mention hissense of adventure in choosing to help Jim. Huck fears pap for his abusivenessand strongly dislikes the idea of going to school everyday and being civilized.
Huck hopes for a friendlier world as seen with his confusion for the Grangerford’sfeud and disdain for the tricks the King and Duke play on Mary Jane.· Jim – Jim is theblack slave of the Miss Watson, and he is the primary runner of the novel as heescapes from slavery upon hearing of a future deal to sell him. Jim isportrayed as father who wants to reunite his family and bring them goodfortune.
Jim is a strong proponent of the ideas of luck and bad luck, havingwarned against snake skins and bragged of his hairy chest. Jim is alsosusceptible to ghost and witch stories proven by his initial shock in seeingHuck for thinking he was a ghost and weary of a witch who misplaced his hat.Jim is driven by his desire to escape oppression yet scared of the obstaclesthat lie along the way such as slave traders, robbers, white men with guns, andspiders. · Tom Sawyer – Tomis the imaginative and adventurous boy who takes authority in every great feathe and Huck undertake.
Tom is always eager to play tricks on others such as onJim with the hat and Aunt Sally with the kiss. Not to mention, Tom advocatesfollowing everything by the “regulations” set forth by previous adventurestories and doing so leads him to be unnecessarily cruel to Jim in forcing himto befriend a snake, write in blood, and wait longer to be told of his freedom(Twaint 372). Tom is driven by his longing for entertainment and amusement, notto mention his insatiable appetite for tricks and pranks. Tom ultimately wishesto see Jim freed when he was recaptured and insulted by the gunmen, earning himthe title of protagonist.2. Antagonist: · Pap Finn – Pap ispainted as wicked, racist, and outright abusive to Huck.
Pap enters the noveldemanding Huck’s money, threatening him with violence, and slandering those whocare for Huck. Pap also kidnaps Huck and deprives him of education, all whileblasting a successful mulatto and even threatening to kill Huck for he was thedevil. Pap is driven only by his alcoholism, greed, and lust for power, andseems to have no fears other than against those who would want to take away hisalcohol.
Pap also experiences little moral conflict as he lasted only a shortwhile after promising to never drink alcohol again.· The Duke and King– The Duke and King are portrayed as unrelenting conmen who play tricks onpeople not out of fun, but to extract their money and hospitality. The Duke andKing are constantly labeled as “rapscallions,” primarily for their perpetrationof a scam they call the “Royal Nonesuch” (Twain 243, 244). The Duke and Kingalso impersonate Harvey and William Wilks in order to capture the estate leftby the Peter Wilks, an action so disgusting to Huck that it “was enough to makea body ashamed of the human race” (Twain 251). The Duke and King are also theantagonists with respect to Jim’s freedom as they are the one’s who end upturning him in for the escaped slave reward.
The Duke and King are driven bytheir greed and love of money, with no respect for the feelings of others, andare afraid only of being caught and humiliated, which is what ends up happeningto them.3. ParallelCharacters: Huck and Jim are portrayed as characters whose fates areintertwined, and that destiny has brought them together.
Both are seeking toescape oppression: Huck from the civilization that deemed his father suitableto keep him and Jim from the threat of slavery and the idea of being sold downsouth. Together, the two characters’ respective oppressors reveal a deepinsight on the peculiar institution – if society is in the wrong for decidingHuck’s legal guardian, then deciding Jim’s legal owner is a much greater wrong,especially considering that Huck’s guardian was his father by birth, yet Jimhas no relation to his owner whatsoever, so his captivity is superfluous. Huckand Jim’s similar paths also draw a comparison between children and slaves, andwhile it may be fair to treat a child like a child, treating a slave like achild is outright paradoxical, considering that a slave assumes the responsibilitiesof an adult yet is not treated so.4. Foil Characters: HuckFinn and Tom Sawyer foil each other in their upbringings and worldviews. WhileHuck, having been raised without an education by an abusive father, sees liferealistically and views each situation as it is, Tom sees the potential inevery moment to fit the event as it is “in the books” (Twain 14).
Tom’s thirstfor entertainment, however, takes a darker turn later in the novel as, despiteHuck’s protestations, Tom insists Jim must escape according to the”regulations” (Twain 372). As such, Jim must endure Tom’s master plan as Tomwithholds from Jim that Jim is already free. Tom’s commanding authority overHuck’s submission reveals how the system of slavery has survived so long.Humans that can project confidence and power overpower those less convincing,and a cycle of oppression is born out of an inability to refuse the wishes ofhigher class. Tom’s higher class comes out of his well-off family and the booksto which he was supplied with as a kid, and in having Huck be so uneducatedshows how civilizations taints and corrupts those led to believe everything mustbe done as they are in the books, and true innocence only comes withoutexposure to the ideas seed5.
Important Changes:· Huck – Huckoccasionally found himself questioning whether it was moral to help Jim, and hefrequently expressed how it weighed down on his “conscience” that he was notturning in a runaway (Twain 139). He even came close to writing Miss Watson aletter saying that he helped Jim escape, yet Huck undergoes a major change whenhe decides to not write the letter and “go to hell instead” (Twain 331). ForHuck’s personal desire to help his friend prevail over societal and religiouspressures to turn him in shows just how empowering one’s convictions are in theface of persecution, and how one should follow their heart rather than theheart of conformity that society wants them to follow,· Jim – Since thebeginning of the novel, Jim has been portrayed as timid: he ran from MissWatson, wanted to immediately leave the robbers on the boat, and he hid fromthe Grangerfords’ initial appearance. Yet, when Tom was wounded, Jim stayedbehind to give him help and braved the possible consequences, so much that hewas “resking his freedom to do it” (Twain 439). Jim’s bravery in helping Tom bylosing his freedom shows how he paid a hefty price yet stuck to his convictionsof friendship and morals to help others. Therefore, Twain illustrates how anoppressed race can find solace in standing up for their personal values.
Plot:1. Conflict: Theprimary conflict in Huck Finn is Man vs Society as Huck finds himself clashingwith the forces of societal pressures to turn Jim in, concepts of humanownership with Huck and Pap, and the ideals of civilization with Tom’s need tofollow life as the do it in the books. Jim also experiences a conflict withsociety as the system he serves under seeks to return him to an unfounded cycleof abuse and oppression. On one side is Jim, who, under no choice of his own,was born Black. On the other side is the system of slavery and racism, whereassumptions are made about individuals on the pretense of their birth, despiteeveryone being on equal terms as a human when they are born.2. Climax: The Climaxof the novel occurs when Huck sets out to help Jim after he was turned in tothe Phelps’s farm.
Before the novel had been building up Huck and Jim’sjournery down the Mississippi river, yet when Jim is captured and Huck decidesto rescue him the novel moves toward a focus on freeing Jim from the farm. WhenHuck decides to forego the letter Miss Watson, he makes a major moral choicethat leads the rest of the novel to follow its repercussions. 3. Resolution: As thenovel nears its end, Huck and Tom’s elaborate plan fails as Tom is shot in theleg which leads Jim to stay behind and help him, ultimately leading to hisrecapture by a doctor. When Tom wakes up, he details the whole story to AuntSally, and after finding out that Jim was recaptured, details how Jim hasactually been free all along. The novel ends with Aunt Polly identifying Huckand Tom’s true selves and Jim being praised for his service and let off withpay. 4.
Insight into HumanCondition: For the novel to have been based on Jim’s escape when Jim was freeall along shows how former slaves in postwar America, though free, do not yetfeel free from the insults, humiliation, and violence of their former masters.The gun-owning men at the cottage treat Jim cruelly, and since Jim is free andactually a hero for helping Tom, Twain illustrates how the Blacks of Americahave yet to receive retribution for crimes against them and are in a cycle of oppressionthat prevents them from achieving recognition for their accomplishments.Setting:1.
Time Period: Thebook takes place in antebellum America sometime during the 1830s to 1840s, andsentiments such as temperance and abolitionist movements add to theverisimilitude of the novel. Had the book taken place before its current time,slavery and antislavery tensions would not have been high enough to warrantHuck’s assistance of Jim, and Jim’s escape would have been easier with lessstrict fugitive laws. Had the novel taken place some time after the civil war,much of the central conflicts to society would remain, yet Jim would not beescaping from slavery as much as general prejudice and discrimination.2. Places:· St. Petersburg –Huck’s original home with the Widow at the beginning of the novel, set inMissouri, a slave owning state.· Jackson Island –The paradise-like stretch of land on the Mississippi river, served as themeeting place for Huck and Jim.
· Cairo – Huck andJim were originally headed for this Illinois city, it would have served as theport that could provide a steamboat to take them up north, but they missed itin the fog and a steamboat hit them.· Parkville – ThePhelps farm was located here, and this is where Jim was brought to followingthe Duke and King turning him in. It is also the location of Aunt Sally, theperson who Huck went to find Jim.Writing: 1. Tone(s): Twainwrites the novel in a morally didactic tone, taking moments where he expresseshis inner thoughts on each subject through the medium of Huck. Twain’sconclusion of the novel with the continued perpetration of slaves as objectsleaves a hint of pessimism for the future of Blacks in America if his moralteachings are ignore as the teachings of those before him were.
2. Diction: The dictionis characteristic of the true use of words a Missourian would have used at thetime of writing, and each word is chosen carefully to reflect the dialect ofthe time, such that Jim, being a slave, uses simpler language without a diversevocabulary. Tom, having been educated and civilized, invokes abstract conceptshe does not even understand such as “ransomed” (Twain 13). Huck is between Tomand Jim, whereas his diction isn’t as simple as Jim’s, it is less commandingthan Tom’s, revealing the importance of a proper childhood in making a personcomplete. The diction for the novel as a whole is primarily colloquial as thenarrator tries to form a personal relationship with the reader, often withdirect addresses to his audience.3. Point of View: Thenovel takes place through the voice of Huck Finn, a choice that often allowsTwain to make personal commentaries on the ideas conveyed in the novel. Also,in having the novel take place through a first-person point of view in such arelatable character as Huck, Twain further consolidates the connection he formswith his readers, and the moral lessons explored in the novel then carry deepersignificance for the reader.
If Huck can see the evil and shame in the actionsof others, then the readers should too if they find themselves relating toHuck.Major Themes: · The theme ofabsurdity comes into play when Tom reveals that Jim was free all along, suchthat the novel was based largely on a lack of communication and confusion ofideas. Also, much of the actions of society toward Huck are hypocritical initself, where, though the judge preaches about temperance and morality, Huck isstill handed over to his alcoholic and abusive father. · The theme ofstanding up for one’s own convictions is presented frequently throughout thenovel where a character often finds solace in standing up for their virtues.When Huck was split over sending Miss Watson the letter and going to hell, hestood up for his beliefs in friendship and later found value in his friendshipwith Jim.
When Huck stood by while the Duke and King took advantage of MaryJane, he felt “ashamed of the human race,” but when he confessed to Mary Janeand ditched the Duke and King, he felt ecstatic (Twain 251).· The theme of theevil of greed is spread throughout the novel with each example of a personcorrupted by a sole desire for riches and disregard for others. First andforemost is Pap Finn who values his son’s $6,000 more than his son, and it’sthis lust for money that drives him to kidnap and nearly kill his son. Twainfurther demonizes greed when he has the Duke and King be tarred and feathered forthe perpetration of the money grabbing Royal Nonesuch, and as such Twain warns againststooping to corruption of wealth.Important Quotes: