Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Transcript Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn
Context & Literary Elements
“All American literature
comes from one book by
Mark Twain called
Huckleberry Finn…it’s the
best book we’ve had.”
–Earnest Hemingway
The Author
• Huck Finn is considered Mark Twain’s
(Samuel Clemens) masterpiece
• Born 1835, died 1910
• Grew up in Hannibal, Missouri
• Took eight years to compose (18761884)
• Was a vocal opponent of racism and
imperialism
Historical Context
• Written 20 years after the Civil War
• Story recounts pre-Civil War days
when the controversy of slavery and
free/slave states disfigured the face
of America as a “land of the free”
• Other 19th century reforms:
Abolition, women’s Suffrage,
utopian societies, prison and asylum
reform, educational, political
Literary Elements: Vernacular & Dialect
• H.F. is among the first pieces of
American literature written in
vernacular
• Vernacular: Informal, everyday
speech that is a variety of a language
spoken by a particular group
(sometimes cultural)
• Dialect: variation of language spoken
by a particular group; may differ in
vocabulary, pronunciation, common
Literary Elements: Picaresque Fiction
• Usually a first-person narrative
• Relating to the adventures of a
rogue or low-born adventurer
(picaro) as he drifts from place
to place from one social setting
to another in his effort to survive
Review of Satire
Definition:
• Uses ridicule of wit to attack human
faults, vices, shortcomings, and
follies with the intent of bringing
about improvement
• Usually meant to be humorous, but
is also an attack on something of
which the author/speaker strongly
disapproves
Specific Satirical Strategies to
look for in Huck Finn:
• Caricature
• Parody
• Hyperbole
• Also, note Twain’s use of
understatements
Literary History: Romanticism to Realism
• Romanticism: A reaction
against the scientific
rationalization of nature.
• The movement validated
strong emotion as an
authentic source of
aesthetic experience
Literary History: Romanticism to Realism
• Realism: emphasis on themes,
characters, and settings from a
particular geographical region; often
portrays a distinct region as having a
homogeneous population
• Realist authors opted for depictions
of everyday and banal activities and
experiences, instead of a
romanticized or similarly stylized
presentation
Literary History contd.
• Regionalism: (aka “local
color”) refers to fiction or
poetry that focuses on
specific features – including
characters, dialects, customs,
history, and landscape – of a
particular region.
In Huck Finn:
According to the Oxford
Companion to American
Literature, there exists “the dual
influence of romanticism and
realism…from ordinary life to
distant lands, strange customs, or
exotic scenes, but retains through
minute detail, a sense of fidelity
and accuracy of description” (439).
Themes
• Freedom & Enslavement
• Social Responsibility: Conformity &
Civilization
• Coming of Age & Search for Identity
• Friendship & Betrayal
• Christian religion vs. Superstition
• Individual vs. Society
• Man and the natural world
• Family
Controversy
• Highly criticized since its
publication
• Often misread as a satirical
text
• Censorship: still being
banned!