Huck Finn

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Transcript Huck Finn

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Twain was a humorist – but
sometimes the humor
vanished, and the result were
ugly, bitter comments about
the human race, such as
Sherburn’s speech.
Huck shows he is still a simple
kid when he is taken in by the
circus master’s ruse.
Jim’s pining for his family, and
Huck seems surprised, which
indicates he still doesn’t think
of Jim as quite human, even if
he is friends with Jim.
Jim’s account of his actions
toward his deaf daughter
shows us how human Jim
really is.
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“…I do believe [Jim] cared
as much for his people as
white folks does for their’n.
It don’t seem natural, but I
reckon it’s so.”
In the slave-holding society
of Huck’s time, African
Americans are regarded as
cattle, incapable of
experiencing any of the
deeper of finer human
feelings.
Therefore, their Godordained role is that of
insensible beasts of
burden.
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Huck does not
consciously question the
values of his society.
Thus, he initially has
difficulty accepting Jim’s
humanity: The concept
that a black man has the
same capacity to love his
family as white people
does run contrary to
everything Huck has
been taught.
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It is Huck’s loving heart
that allows him to rise
above the conditioning of
his society and recognize
Jim as a fellow human
being with a soul.
Although Huck never
questions the rightness
of slavery, his acceptance
of Jim’s humanity
unconsciously denies
any moral justification for
slavery.
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“…All kings is mostly
rapscallions, as fur as I
can make out…” (Jim)
Huck reflects Twain’s
own contempt for
European aristocracy
when he says, “They
don’t do nothing…They
just set around – except
maybe when there’s a
war; then they go to war.
But other times they just
lazy around.”
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Jim calls the king and
duke rapscallions
because of their blatant
dishonesty.
But rapscallions are
rogues rather than
villains: Their rascality
may range from mere
mischief to trickery,
fraud, and theft but never
to crimes of complete
moral depravity such as
murder or rape.
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The plan to have Jim get
in costume on the raft is a
plot device that allows
Huck and the con men to
stay in town for several
days.
The town’s reaction to the
con men’s story about
being the deceased
man’s relatives made
Huck say to himself, “It
was enough to make a
body ashamed of the
human race.”
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Why does Huck go along
with this shameful
behavior?
Jim, whom Huck knows is
in a dangerous situation
with these ruthless
characters.
Twain expresses disgust
with more than the con
men – he also is
disgusted with the
narrow vision of the
townspeople. It all adds
up to an indictment of all
of us.
Imposter: one who
practices deceit or
fraud by pretending to
be someone he is not.
 The King is a double
impostor: He is not
really a king and is now
assuming the false
identity of Parson
Harvey Wilks so that he
can steal from the
deceased Peter Wilks’
estate.
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The novel is filled with
impostors, thus
pointing up the
hypocrisy of the
society.
 Even Huck becomes an
impostor on several
occasions, although,
when he assumes a
false identity, it is to
either protect Jim or
himself rather than
commit fraud.
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Chapter 27 ends with Huck
expressing his pleasure that “I’d
worked it all off onto the niggers,
and yet hadn’t done the niggers
no harm by it.” His practical
approach to morality is still much
in evidence, but he’s also
unwilling to hurt other people
when it can be avoided.
Huck is startled and puzzled by
the discovery that in a tight spot it
might actually be better and safer
to tell the truth than lie.
He compares himself to Judas,
however – in keeping with his low
self-image.
Mary Jane’s willingness to pray
for Huck may lead him to fall in
love for the first and only time in
his life.