It used frontier humor, vernacular speech, and an uneducated young narrator to portray life in America. Although at first the novel was roundly denounced as inappropriate for genteel readers, it eventually found a preeminent place in the canon of American literature.
Begun as a sequel to Twain's successful children's book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn follows a similar picaresque form as its predecessor, but has a much more serious intent.
Narrated by the title character, the story begins with Huck under the protection of the kindly Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Fearing that his alcoholic father, Pap, will attempt to claim the fortune that he and Tom had found in Tom Sawyer , Huck transfers the money to Judge Thatcher. Undaunted, Pap kidnaps Huck and imprisons him in a lonely cabin. Huck escapes, leaving a trail of pig's blood to make it appear he has been killed, and he finds his way to Jackson's Island, where he encounters Miss Watson's runaway slave, Jim.
One night Huck, disguised as a girl, goes ashore, where he learns that people believe that Jim killed Huck, and that there is a reward for Jim's capture. The two set out on a raft down the Mississippi River but are separated when the raft is struck by a steamboat. Swimming ashore, Huck is taken in by the Grangerford family, who are engaged in a blood feud with the Shepherdsons.
In time Huck finds Jim and the two set out on the raft again, eventually offering refuge to two con artists, the Duke, and the King. These two perpetrate various frauds on unsuspecting people, claiming to be descendants of royalty or, at other times, famous actors, evangelists, or temperance lecturers.
Learning of the death of the well-to-do Peter Wilks, the Duke and the King descend upon the family, claiming their inheritance as long-lost brothers. Huck helps to foil their plans, and he and Jim attempt to slip away without the Duke and the King, but the rogues catch up with them and the four set out together.
When they come ashore in one town, Jim is captured, and Huck is shocked to learn that the King has turned him in for the reward. After a battle with his conscience, Huck decides to help Jim escape. He goes to the Phelps farm where Jim is being held and is mistaken for Tom Sawyer, who is the nephew of the Phelpses.
Huck decides to impersonate Tom. When the real Tom arrives, he joins in the deception by posing as his brother, Sid. He concocts an elaborate plan to rescue Jim, during the execution of which Tom is accidentally shot, and Jim is recaptured. From his sickbed, Tom announces that Miss Watson has died, setting Jim free in her will. During his journey down the river, with its series of encounters, he undergoes a rite of passage from unthinking acceptance of received knowledge and values to an independently achieved understanding of what is right.
Twain skillfully plays upon the irony of that moment as he describes the conflicts between what Huck has been taught and what he gradually acknowledges to be right. Another dominant theme in the story is the contrast between the constricting life on shore and the freedom offered by the river.
When Huckleberry Finn was first published in the United States in , critical response was mixed, and a few libraries banned the book for its perceived offenses to propriety. Such controversies, however, did not affect the book's popularity, and it has remained the best selling of all of Twain's works. After Twain's death his works gradually became elevated as national treasures, but following World War I commentators such as William Faulkner and Van Wyck Brooks cast doubt on the greatness of Huckleberry Finn.
Hemingway's comments on the novel, along with the centenary of Twain's birth in and favorable comments by Lionel Trilling and T. Eliot in the late s and early s, revived the book's reputation. Later critics gave it nearly universal acclaim, praising its artistry and its evocation of important American themes.
A recurrent critical concern was the role of Jim, who was variously called only a foil for Huck's exploits, a possible homosexual partner, or a father figure. Others critiqued Jim's role as a racial stereotype, while Twain defenders said he was used to expose the hypocrisy and bigotry of southern separatism.
During the s a number of critics such as Bernard DeVoto and Leo Marx raised objections to the abruptness of the book's ending, but by the s Twain was again being lauded by such scholars as Walter Blair and Henry Nash Smith. The hundredth anniversary of the American publication of the novel in sparked new editions, bibliographies, and critical appraisals.
Around this time, more and more questions were being raised about the racial slurs in Huckleberry Finn, and a number of public schools sought to ban the book from their required reading lists. In addition, African American critics and others continued to challenge the book's reputation as a classic of American literature. That controversy goes on, even as criticism of the novel has taken new directions.
Since the s some scholars have continued to do close textual readings, and others have emphasized the novel as a cultural product. The question of literary canonization has been addressed by critics such as Jonathan Arac and Elaine and Harry Mensch. Other commentators, including Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua, have noted the importance of the confluence of white and Black cultures in the story.
Several new editions, especially the annotated edition published in by the Mark Twain Foundation, have encouraged further scholarship. Critical interest in Huckleberry Finn, then, shows no signs of waning, and debates over its stature and reputation, and the issues the novel raises, appear certain to continue. Tenney, and Thadious M. Duke University Press, I don't think I'd ever read Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Described as a revolt against the rationalism that had defined the Neo-Classical movement dominate during the seventeenth and early eighteenth century , Romanticism placed heavy emphasis on imagination, emotion, and sensibility.
Heroic feats, dangerous adventures, and inflated prose marked the resulting literature, which exalted the senses and emotion over intellect and reason. In addition, the writers of the New England Renaissance — Emerson , Longfellow, Holmes, and Whittier — dominated literary study, and the public's appetite for extravagance appeared to be insatiable.
By the end of the s, however, the great age of Romanticism appeared to be reaching its zenith. Bawdy humor and a realistic portrayal of the new American frontier were quickly displacing the refined culture of the New England literary circle. William Dean Howells described the new movement as "nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material. The attack was not surprising, for the new authors, such as Mark Twain, had risen from middle-class values, and thus they were in direct contrast to the educated and genteel writers who had come before them.
Literary Realism strove to depict an America as it really was, unfettered by Romanticism and often cruel and harsh in its reality. In Huck Finn, this contrast reveals itself in the guise of Tom and Huck.
Representing the Romantic movement, Tom gleefully pulls the logical Huck into his schemes and adventures. When the boys come together at the beginning of the novel to create a band of robbers, Tom tells the gang that if anyone whispers their secrets, the boy and his entire family will be killed.
Huckleberry Finn is a classic coming of age story, and Mark Twain uses Huck’s familial adventures on land and his changing relationship with Jim on the raft to showcase the key feature of adolescence: learning through taking risks.
Use CliffsNotes' The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Study Guide today to ace your next test! Get free homework help on Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: book summary, chapter summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, and character analysis -- courtesy of CliffsNotes. Readers meet Huck Finn after he's been taken in by Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson, who.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn study guide contains a biography of Mark Twain, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of. Feb 18, · Huckleberry Finn essays / The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Twain. In Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain develops the plot into Huck and Jim's adventures allowing him to weave in his criticism of society.
Free essays on Huckleberry Finn available at mejormateria.cf, the largest free essay community. This essay analyses the moral development of Huckleberry Finn in the classic book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. No Registration Required!