Huckleberry Finn

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Transcript Huckleberry Finn

(Mark Twain)
“A literary classic is a book which people praise and don’t read”
– Mark Twain
Sam Clemens as a boy
Born on November 30, 1835 in Florida,
Sixth of seven children
Only three siblings survived childhood
“Do not put off until tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just
as well.”
Sam Clemens as a boy
Brought up in Hannibal,
MO, moved when four
years old
A sickly, strange, quiet
child who hated the indoors
and liked to run away.
Purposely contracted the
measles to gain attention
and nearly died
Father died when Sam was
“By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity – another man’s, I mean.”
Sam as a young man
Apprenticed to a printer and wrote for his
brother’s newspaper after his father died.
Worked as a type-setter and writer for the
Hannibal Journal
When he turned 18, he became a printer,
living in several eastern cities, including
New York. Returned to Missouri at 22.
Inspired to become a steamboat captain on
a trip to New Orleans
When the Civil War ended river traffic, he
joined the Confederate army in Missouri
until it looked like they were going to have
to fight.
“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man
who can’t read them.”
Sam Clemens becomes Mark Twain
Moved to Virginia City, Nevada, with his
brother Orion and became a miner
Failed at mining so he went to work at The
Territorial Enterprise as a writer
Used the pen-name Mark Twain for the
first time in 1863
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to
open it and remove all doubt.”
Mark Twain in California
Left for San Francisco to avoid a duel and became a
reporter in 1864
Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog was published
around the country in 1865; giving Twain his first
national fame
Visited Hawaii as a correspondent for The
Sacramento Union
Set out on a tour of the Mediterranean and Europe in
1867; wrote about it successfully as The Innocents
Abroad in 1869
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Marriage and Home Life
Writing success gave Twain enough money to
marry Olivia Langdon in 1870
Moved to Buffalo, NY
First child, son
Langdon, died at 19
Eventually had three
daughters: Susy, Clara,
and Jean
Movin’ on up
The Twains
moved to
“Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the
vast limits of their knowledge.”
From travel writer to immortal
Started Huck Finn in 1876 but quit by chapter
16 because of difficulties with the plot
Tom Sawyer: 1876
The Prince and the Pauper: 1881
Life on the Mississippi: 1883
Huckleberry Finn: 1884
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes
you nothing. It was here first.”
Later life
Susy died in 1896 while
Twain was on a world
Olivia died in 1904
Later works were darker
with a tinge of bitterness
Died on April 21, 1910
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
The Adventures
of Huckleberry
“All modern literature comes from
one book by Mark Twain called
Huckleberry Finn…All American
writing comes from that. There
was nothing before. There has
been nothing as good since.”
-Ernest Hemingway
Huckleberry Finn
Huckleberry Finn is thought to be a sequel to
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but the first
sixteen chapters of Huck were written before
Tom Sawyer was published.
 The novel is really about a boy’s discovery of
true morality by shedding the messed up
conventions of society in favor of his own sense
of right and wrong.
 Huck Finn is a comedy in which the humor is
disguised – mostly ironic humor as real
situations and people are different than Huck
perceives them to be.
The plot is episodic, meaning that it has a
series of separate situations, or episodes, that
are almost unrelated but tied together by a
certain character, theme, or device.
 The Mississippi River is the plot device that
holds the different episodes together.
 The plot alternates between the idyllic life on the
raft and the confusion, gullibility, callousness,
and prejudice of the people within the towns
along the banks of the river.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the first American
novel to use dialect (the way people really speak in a
certain region) in such abundance
 Huck is in the picaresque (rogue) novel tradition in
which the main character is a rascal, thief or scoundrel
 Huck is an unreliable narrator, meaning he cannot be
trusted to see the action of the story accurately; he has
the perspective of a naïve, young boy
 Huck’s straightforward reporting of ridiculous situations
provides much of the humor in the book as the reader
sees what is going on while Huck may not.
 Huck is a tableau rasa (a blank slate) untainted by
society’s traditions, relying on instinct and common
The hypocrisy of a certain type of religion; Twain
did not like Southern-based Christianity that
taught love and compassion but sanctioned
 The ineffectualness of the law to protect the
most innocent and weak members of society
 Traditions that stifle creativity and common
sense but promote conformity and narrowmindedness are to be abandoned
Society is the individual violence, greed,
conformity, laziness, gullibility, and selfishness
of common citizens ruled by imperfect laws
 Satire (making fun of a serious subject through
exaggeration or mockery in order to improve the
subject of mockery) of other melodramatic
novels of the time period (melodramas being
those plots that rely on suspense, sensational
events, and coincidence)
Huck matures and develops into a moral human
being as he journeys down the Mississippi,
Huck’s moral struggles are the central conflict of
the novel as he frees himself from the taint of the
society in which he grew up
 Good vs. bad type of religion
Life on the raft vs. life in society on shore
Widow Douglas’s vs. Miss Watson’s
Jim and Huck are free on the river and bound on land
Instinct vs. education
Huck’s common sense vs. Tom’s book learning