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Enriched Classics offer readers accessible editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and commentary. Each book includes educational tools alongside the text, enabling students and readers alike to gain a deeper and more developed understanding of the writer and their work.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn follows Tom Sawyer’s best friend on his wildly entertaining exploits with runaway slave, Jim, recounted in vernacular English and vibrant descriptions of life along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society, which had ceased to exist at the time of its publication, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is often regarded as a scathing satire on the institution of racism and the attitudes that supported it. However, it is also a playful story about the joys and evils of childhood as well as the limitless possibilities it allows.

Enriched Classics enhance your engagement by introducing and explaining the historical and cultural significance of the work, the author’s personal history, and what impact this book had on subsequent scholarship. Each book includes discussion questions that help clarify and reinforce major themes and reading recommendations for further research.

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Published: Pocket Books on
ISBN: 9781416501787
List price: $4.95
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a story about a boy and a slave traveling by raft down the Mississippi river. Anything else is hearsay. Mark Twain was born in the year of Haley's comet, and he said he'd die on the year of Haley's comet, which he did! i think that's cooler than anything..more
I understand that this book was considered The Great American Novel for it's time period, but it didn't resonate with me. Part of it was the character of Huck, part of it was the seemingly scattershot nature of his adventures on the Mississippi River (it certainly wasn't the language, I have no problem with that in this or any other book), but by the time the story got to the fued between the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons, I had checked out of the story. The rest was one of the toughest slogs I've ever had to get through in reading. (Each time it was for a class assignment--the last time was to see if I had the wrong idea about the book,. I wasn't) I won't be reading it again.more
I think I liked this book better than [book:Tom Sawyer], but that may be because of the dramatization of the voices -- different actors doing the different voices made it easier to follow the dialogue in audio.

Good to have finally read this American classic.more
I've read this several times, most recently, I think, to my son when he was about 4 years old (really!) I don't really know what The Great American Novel is, but I think if someone from another country or universe were to read only one American novel, this would be it. Excuse me, I got to light out for the territory now.more
It was easy to imagine myself as Huck Finn as a kid even though my life bared little obvious resemblance to his. However, my childhood was one of freedom and adventure and I felt like I had found a literary soul brother in Huck as I read about his adventures. While mine weren't on the scale of his many were far removed.more
Audiobook. The narration was good, but I didn't care all that much for the story. I preferred Tom Sawyer's story to Huck's.more
I'm listening to the audio version read by Elijah Woods. He did a great job with the dialects, and the story is of course a classic, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I love the characters, though - it's amazing how good Twain is at creating unique lovable characters.more
I would like to like Mark Twain, but for some reason I don't. I had to read this in 10th grade English and at one point I read several pages and then realized that I hadn't paid attention to it at all. And that was the part about pig's blood and faking a death, or something like that. I still don't know.more
I half-expected to hate this and find it a chore, and in some parts, I did and it was. But I was also secretly hoping I'd love it, and in parts I did. Which is a bit odd, since it's not a particularly uneven book, except insofar as it alternates between "Huck having adventures" (which I enjoyed), and "Huck floating on a river" (which was god-awfully boring). I like Huck, a good deal more than Tom Sawyer, who makes everything unnecessarily complicated--Huck is more down-to-earth, more practical, less manipulative, and as a result, seems more like a real character than the What-I-Wish-My-Childhood-Had-Been Tom.

I understand why it's considered the Great American Novel; it puts together the boyhood spirit of adventure with a snapshot of the American south, with all the values and foibles that includes. It's not a romanticized account of life on the river, in a positive or negative direction, but a more straightforward account of what was (or at least, what could have been).more
eBook

What is there to say? It's my favorite novel. Funny and profound and moving; It's almost hard to read because it spins my thoughts and imagination in all different directions on almost every page.

I suppose you could take something different from it every time you pick it up, but for me, it's about recognizing that everyone has the power to shape their beliefs to meet the world they encounter. As Huck travels down the river, he keeps adopting and discarding the belief systems he encounters until he finally realizes that it's up to him to decide what's right and what's wrong. That he's unable to stick to his guns is what makes this both a tragic work and a profoundly real one.

Huck, the boy, is the man I aspire to be. Smart, despite not being educated; wise, yet not without flaws. It's a good day when I recognize his cadences in my thoughts.more
The classic, an easy read, the dialect is a bit tedious sometimes. Huck's philosophy and Jim's patience are a delight. It seems like idyllic life on another planet.more
I first read this book in elementary school. Reading it again as an adult has allowed me to appreciate it on a new level.As Twain states at the start of the book, "persons attempting to find a plot in [this book] will be shot." It's simply a compilation of a number of adventures that Finn has with his friend Jim, who happens to be an escaped slave, as they travel down the Mississippi River. Jim is seeking his freedom and Huck is along for the ride.Each vignette presents us with a sample of Twain's sense of satire and the outlandish. He portrays caricature stereotypes of his time, for example, the feuding families of the Appalachian regions, pervasive racism and a constant clash between religion and superstition. The tales also become increasingly extravagant and show Huck's skill in twisting truth to manipulate others.What strikes the modern reader most is the conflicted morality of the narrative. While Huck doesn't think twice about outright lying, cheating and defrauding others, he believes he'll go to hell because he's helping a slave escape to freedom. He acknowledges that Jim is a good and caring man, yet he still treats him as something less than fully human. Parts of the dialogue were, frankly, very difficult to read.This novel needs to be read with the historical framework within which it was written in mind. Also, this particular volume is uncensored so it makes liberal use of "the N word" with the deepest of derogatory intent. While thought provoking, this book should be discussed with young readers so they understand the racist context.more
This started well and the first few chapters read like a direct continuation of Tom Sawyer, which I really enjoyed. But I did not find the subsequent adventures of Huck Finn engrossing beyond a few humorous touches; the one positive was the friendship between Huck and the runaway slave Jim, but after they fell in with a pair of eccentrics who thought they were royalty/nobility, my interest waned and I gave up just over half way through. 3/5more
Took me a while to chew through this one... its longer than I remembered from high school! I'm glad I read it again, however, and am looking forward to the next title in my classics challenge!more
I loved this book. It is exactly what I look for in a book, a great adventure and story. It moves at a good pace and doesn't get caught up in detail of a rock or the weather. The language and writing can be difficult at times to sit through but you get used to it and soon you don't even think about it. A great readmore
I could read this book once a year for the rest of my life. I think it may be my absolute favorite.more
There are many classics that become icons of cultures and periods. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of those books. Mark Twain is an entertaining part of American history.Most people who have been raised in America know at least Huck Finn’s name. He is known for his escapades in early America and his friendship with the well-known Tom Sawyer. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve seen the movie. That might be a bad thing.How can that be bad? Because if you only watch the movies and then years later read the book, you’ll be very disappointed in what you read.The movies are so different than the book is. Yes, there are many movies, but the majority veer far from Twain’s original works.It also doesn’t help that I am mostly used to contemporary writing which is much different that of the writings of the 1800s and earlier. The works are more description of scenes and actions than we are used to today. The style is vastly different. In fact, you might it difficult to read because of that.You might also find it difficult to read where the dialogue is written exactly the way it was spoken. When the slave, Jim, speaks, it is not in formal English. It is written as he spoke it. In reading these parts, you might want to read it aloud so you can hear what he said instead of reading it.I also found reading of Huck and Tom’s actions rather difficult. I don’t see boys of their age really acting that way, but that is how Twain wanted them to be. I really think the movies ruined it for me. Though I still enjoy Twain’s short stories. Maybe that is where I need to stay with him.Please be aware if you have your children read the book for school. Throughout the book, the ‘n’ word is used. It was a part of the culture’s everyday language which makes it important to use in the story. You might want to explain the use of the word then versus now before reading the book.Note: This was a free copy obtained through a public domain venue.more
In my opinion, the great American novel.more
I don't know if I can add much more than what's already been written and said about this enduring classic, except that it's one of the few books that ought to be read by every single member of the human race. Hilarious, enduring in its critical view of racism and endearing in exposing many other human flaws.more
Fantastic... a struggle to get started with but incredibly rewarding. Twain's word play, sarcasm, and general demeanor are invigorating. Can finally check this off the books I lied about reading in high school... ;)more
Argh. Classic. I don't think so. It was horrible, just... I know that I'm supposed to see it as some great book that changed whatever, blah, blah, blah, but I just can't stand it. I didn't mind the Tom Sawyer book, but this one, every time I had to read it in school (more than once, including in eighth grade) I just wanted to scream hated it so much. Give me the Sound and the Fury over this.more
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is an American classic, famous for its use of the local vernacular, which in this case is from the Midwest Mississippi river valley during the 1830's and 40's. This includes the controversial use of racial slurs, commonly heard as a part of the daily conversation of the time. This novel is also a window into a slice of American frontier living which no longer exists, and had mostly disappeared when Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in 1885.Huck and Jim's adventures are the most engaging at the beginning and end of the novel. I feel the middle loses focus somewhat as Huck Finn becomes more of a secondary player as he crosses paths in the lives of other characters.If you find the dialogued difficult to read, then I recommend listening to a good audiobook version which will capture the exact flavor of how the speech is supposed to sound.more
It's always daunting, isn't it, to review a classic that so many people have read?We discussed Huck Finn in my American Lit class this semester, and overall there really was quite a bit to discuss, despite the story being a very well-known one (at least to me). There is more to this book than than a simple story of a boy and a man floating down the river in a raft.What I loved about this reading of Huck Finn is that we were also to read Toni Morrison's Introduction to it. It was through this Introduction that I was able to see the story in a completely new light - and to understand just what was so "wonderfully troubling" about it.Morrison talks a lot about silence in the book - the silence in those moments of floating down the river, the silence with regard to learning much of anything about Jim's family, the silence with which Huck treats his friendship with Tom. Then there's the silence of Jim toward Huck - why did he fail to disclose who that man was under the cloth? This is an extraordinarily troubling book, but yes.. a wonderful one as well. It's enlightening - it shows how hard the struggle was to accept the idea that a human is a human, no matter his or her skin color. It's educational, it reminds us of where we've come from in an effort to remind us of where we should not return. It's captured history through the dialect of Jim. It's a look at two individuals escaping slavery - Jim the actual slavery, and Huck, escaping abuse at the hand of his father.I always recommend these books. Tom Sawyer is more suited to younger audiences (although I personally find Tom to be a scoundrel), but Huck Finn is a must read for teenagers and adults.more
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book that I remembered fondly from my childhood that actually holds up to another reading as an adult. Twain's wit and humor still carry the story for me as when I was a child, however, this time around, I was better able to appreciate the social and political commentary infused throughout the story. That's the magic of Twain's masterpiece: it's attraction to both young and old for both the same and different facets. For the young, this is a rollicking adventure story of an ornery youth and his escaped slave friend. It's the classic buddy tale infused with humor and narrow escapes. For the adult, There are the deeper layers of Huck's constant struggle with his own inner morality versus the popular opinion of what is considered to be right in the eyes of whites in the pre-civil war Mississippi River area.For a great escape and a look into the culture of the central United States just prior to the Civil War, I highly recommend Huckleberry Finn for all audiences.more
Setting: Huck Finn is set on the Mississippi River before the Civil War and deals with the themes of friendship and human vices.Plot: Huck Finn, an orphan, escapes town on a raft and has many adventures with Jim, a runaway slave.Characters: Huck Finn (protagonist)- independent, thoughtful; Jim- slave, honest; Tom Sawyer- romantic, adventurous; Duke and King (antagonists)- two con men out for moneySymbols: river; Allusions: Hamlet, romantic literatureCharacteristics: an indirect satire on human vicesResponse: at first it was hard to read but eventually it became more intriguing. I appreciated it, but I personally dislike the plot.more
The introduction to the Norton Critical Edition notes: "Originally, Huck's adventures were banned from public libraries and schools for being crude and using bad grammar. Now the issue is racism." In putting the criticisms in context and modern responses to it, I found the Norton Critical Edition valuable, particularly the essays by Jane Smiley, who compares the novel unfavorably to Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; Toni Morrison, who calls the book "amazing" despite feeling Jim is presented as "minstrelized" and a "buffoon" and David L. Smith, who points out how it is precisely through Jim's very characterization that Twain subtlety subverts the racist stereotypes of his time. The book does make for uncomfortable reading for a contemporary reader. The introduction notes the word "nigger" is used over 200 times. By itself, I don't think that should bother people. I've stopped reading books that fling racial epithets more sparingly than Twain's book. It was a major reason I couldn't take reading more of Guthrie's Big Sky--I felt so assaulted by it. But it's a word used frequently after all by African American authors such as Toni Morrison herself. It's appropriate in a book presented as written in the first person by the barely literate child of the town drunk in the Antebellum South. And I think something about Huck's innocence and Twain's satiric purpose and cynicism bubbling in the subtext cut a lot of the offensiveness for me. Of course, the charges of racism go beyond the use of a particular word. However, I think those who decry the work as racist forget Huck's role as an "unreliable narrator" as well as the use of irony. I agree with Smith that Huck's depiction of Jim shouldn't be taken at face value. And Smith picks out this passage in particular:"Good gracious! anybody hurt?""No'm. Killed a nigger.""Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt."Anyone who can't see the savage satire and swat at racism in that.... Well, I have a friend who tried Huckleberry Finn as a child and said she was immediately turned off because it was so racist. Naturally. I'm surprised anyone could see Huckleberry Finn as a children's book. Children are notoriously literal-minded, and tend not to appreciate irony. I'd think adults would know better, but I've known people who think it offensive to use humor in serious matters despite its long history in works of political dissent. I remember one person who said they were offended greatly by All in the Family because it had people laughing at racism. Smiley accuses Huckleberry Finn of not being a "serious" book--she prefers the way Stowe handles issues of race, despite conceding Stowe also embraces some racial stereotypes. I recently read Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I do think the book is greatly underrated and misrepresented (among other things, Uncle Tom is no Uncle Tom). Uncle Tom's Cabin is indeed a very serious book--it's also at times cloyingly sentimental and unbearably preachy and the prose stiff and formal. And Huck is a much more convincing portrait of a child than "Little Eva" who seemed born a saint. Huck's moral growth is a lot more difficult, conflicted and subtle, and to me therefore a lot more moving and real.I do prefer the style of Huckleberry Finn--the way Twain masterfully uses the vernacular and a fourteen-year-old narrator to examine the corrupt and hypocritical ways of adults and their "civilization." The depiction of Huck's abuse by his father is all the more heart-breaking for Huck's absolute lack of self-pity. Through that adolescent voice Twain manages to give you a sense of the magic and majesty of the Mississippi River, and I'll take the book's "bad grammar" over the formal, stiff prose of the British and Continental literature then being written--even if some of the eccentric spellings and use of dialect can make some parts tough going. Beyond the critique of racism, the book is a sharp and general critique of Southern culture. I found telling one note in the Norton Critical Edition that mentioned Twain's hatred of Scott's Ivanhoe and how he felt "the Sir Walter Scott disease" infesting the South with its "sham chivalries" helped incite the American Civil War. That made sense for me of the role of the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, the characters of the "King" and the "Duke" and maybe even Tom Sawyer's fantastic schemes. Think of Huckleberry Finn as the ultimate anti-Gone With the Wind. The book is not perfect, and I think the eleven chapter Tom Sawyer episode at the end is strung along far too long, but I'm more of Smith's and Morrison's opinion than that of Ms Smiley--for the most part, an amazing book--docked a star for that much-criticized ending--and because at times Jim does strike me as buffoonish.more
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Reviews

a story about a boy and a slave traveling by raft down the Mississippi river. Anything else is hearsay. Mark Twain was born in the year of Haley's comet, and he said he'd die on the year of Haley's comet, which he did! i think that's cooler than anything..more
I understand that this book was considered The Great American Novel for it's time period, but it didn't resonate with me. Part of it was the character of Huck, part of it was the seemingly scattershot nature of his adventures on the Mississippi River (it certainly wasn't the language, I have no problem with that in this or any other book), but by the time the story got to the fued between the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons, I had checked out of the story. The rest was one of the toughest slogs I've ever had to get through in reading. (Each time it was for a class assignment--the last time was to see if I had the wrong idea about the book,. I wasn't) I won't be reading it again.more
I think I liked this book better than [book:Tom Sawyer], but that may be because of the dramatization of the voices -- different actors doing the different voices made it easier to follow the dialogue in audio.

Good to have finally read this American classic.more
I've read this several times, most recently, I think, to my son when he was about 4 years old (really!) I don't really know what The Great American Novel is, but I think if someone from another country or universe were to read only one American novel, this would be it. Excuse me, I got to light out for the territory now.more
It was easy to imagine myself as Huck Finn as a kid even though my life bared little obvious resemblance to his. However, my childhood was one of freedom and adventure and I felt like I had found a literary soul brother in Huck as I read about his adventures. While mine weren't on the scale of his many were far removed.more
Audiobook. The narration was good, but I didn't care all that much for the story. I preferred Tom Sawyer's story to Huck's.more
I'm listening to the audio version read by Elijah Woods. He did a great job with the dialects, and the story is of course a classic, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I love the characters, though - it's amazing how good Twain is at creating unique lovable characters.more
I would like to like Mark Twain, but for some reason I don't. I had to read this in 10th grade English and at one point I read several pages and then realized that I hadn't paid attention to it at all. And that was the part about pig's blood and faking a death, or something like that. I still don't know.more
I half-expected to hate this and find it a chore, and in some parts, I did and it was. But I was also secretly hoping I'd love it, and in parts I did. Which is a bit odd, since it's not a particularly uneven book, except insofar as it alternates between "Huck having adventures" (which I enjoyed), and "Huck floating on a river" (which was god-awfully boring). I like Huck, a good deal more than Tom Sawyer, who makes everything unnecessarily complicated--Huck is more down-to-earth, more practical, less manipulative, and as a result, seems more like a real character than the What-I-Wish-My-Childhood-Had-Been Tom.

I understand why it's considered the Great American Novel; it puts together the boyhood spirit of adventure with a snapshot of the American south, with all the values and foibles that includes. It's not a romanticized account of life on the river, in a positive or negative direction, but a more straightforward account of what was (or at least, what could have been).more
eBook

What is there to say? It's my favorite novel. Funny and profound and moving; It's almost hard to read because it spins my thoughts and imagination in all different directions on almost every page.

I suppose you could take something different from it every time you pick it up, but for me, it's about recognizing that everyone has the power to shape their beliefs to meet the world they encounter. As Huck travels down the river, he keeps adopting and discarding the belief systems he encounters until he finally realizes that it's up to him to decide what's right and what's wrong. That he's unable to stick to his guns is what makes this both a tragic work and a profoundly real one.

Huck, the boy, is the man I aspire to be. Smart, despite not being educated; wise, yet not without flaws. It's a good day when I recognize his cadences in my thoughts.more
The classic, an easy read, the dialect is a bit tedious sometimes. Huck's philosophy and Jim's patience are a delight. It seems like idyllic life on another planet.more
I first read this book in elementary school. Reading it again as an adult has allowed me to appreciate it on a new level.As Twain states at the start of the book, "persons attempting to find a plot in [this book] will be shot." It's simply a compilation of a number of adventures that Finn has with his friend Jim, who happens to be an escaped slave, as they travel down the Mississippi River. Jim is seeking his freedom and Huck is along for the ride.Each vignette presents us with a sample of Twain's sense of satire and the outlandish. He portrays caricature stereotypes of his time, for example, the feuding families of the Appalachian regions, pervasive racism and a constant clash between religion and superstition. The tales also become increasingly extravagant and show Huck's skill in twisting truth to manipulate others.What strikes the modern reader most is the conflicted morality of the narrative. While Huck doesn't think twice about outright lying, cheating and defrauding others, he believes he'll go to hell because he's helping a slave escape to freedom. He acknowledges that Jim is a good and caring man, yet he still treats him as something less than fully human. Parts of the dialogue were, frankly, very difficult to read.This novel needs to be read with the historical framework within which it was written in mind. Also, this particular volume is uncensored so it makes liberal use of "the N word" with the deepest of derogatory intent. While thought provoking, this book should be discussed with young readers so they understand the racist context.more
This started well and the first few chapters read like a direct continuation of Tom Sawyer, which I really enjoyed. But I did not find the subsequent adventures of Huck Finn engrossing beyond a few humorous touches; the one positive was the friendship between Huck and the runaway slave Jim, but after they fell in with a pair of eccentrics who thought they were royalty/nobility, my interest waned and I gave up just over half way through. 3/5more
Took me a while to chew through this one... its longer than I remembered from high school! I'm glad I read it again, however, and am looking forward to the next title in my classics challenge!more
I loved this book. It is exactly what I look for in a book, a great adventure and story. It moves at a good pace and doesn't get caught up in detail of a rock or the weather. The language and writing can be difficult at times to sit through but you get used to it and soon you don't even think about it. A great readmore
I could read this book once a year for the rest of my life. I think it may be my absolute favorite.more
There are many classics that become icons of cultures and periods. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of those books. Mark Twain is an entertaining part of American history.Most people who have been raised in America know at least Huck Finn’s name. He is known for his escapades in early America and his friendship with the well-known Tom Sawyer. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve seen the movie. That might be a bad thing.How can that be bad? Because if you only watch the movies and then years later read the book, you’ll be very disappointed in what you read.The movies are so different than the book is. Yes, there are many movies, but the majority veer far from Twain’s original works.It also doesn’t help that I am mostly used to contemporary writing which is much different that of the writings of the 1800s and earlier. The works are more description of scenes and actions than we are used to today. The style is vastly different. In fact, you might it difficult to read because of that.You might also find it difficult to read where the dialogue is written exactly the way it was spoken. When the slave, Jim, speaks, it is not in formal English. It is written as he spoke it. In reading these parts, you might want to read it aloud so you can hear what he said instead of reading it.I also found reading of Huck and Tom’s actions rather difficult. I don’t see boys of their age really acting that way, but that is how Twain wanted them to be. I really think the movies ruined it for me. Though I still enjoy Twain’s short stories. Maybe that is where I need to stay with him.Please be aware if you have your children read the book for school. Throughout the book, the ‘n’ word is used. It was a part of the culture’s everyday language which makes it important to use in the story. You might want to explain the use of the word then versus now before reading the book.Note: This was a free copy obtained through a public domain venue.more
In my opinion, the great American novel.more
I don't know if I can add much more than what's already been written and said about this enduring classic, except that it's one of the few books that ought to be read by every single member of the human race. Hilarious, enduring in its critical view of racism and endearing in exposing many other human flaws.more
Fantastic... a struggle to get started with but incredibly rewarding. Twain's word play, sarcasm, and general demeanor are invigorating. Can finally check this off the books I lied about reading in high school... ;)more
Argh. Classic. I don't think so. It was horrible, just... I know that I'm supposed to see it as some great book that changed whatever, blah, blah, blah, but I just can't stand it. I didn't mind the Tom Sawyer book, but this one, every time I had to read it in school (more than once, including in eighth grade) I just wanted to scream hated it so much. Give me the Sound and the Fury over this.more
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is an American classic, famous for its use of the local vernacular, which in this case is from the Midwest Mississippi river valley during the 1830's and 40's. This includes the controversial use of racial slurs, commonly heard as a part of the daily conversation of the time. This novel is also a window into a slice of American frontier living which no longer exists, and had mostly disappeared when Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in 1885.Huck and Jim's adventures are the most engaging at the beginning and end of the novel. I feel the middle loses focus somewhat as Huck Finn becomes more of a secondary player as he crosses paths in the lives of other characters.If you find the dialogued difficult to read, then I recommend listening to a good audiobook version which will capture the exact flavor of how the speech is supposed to sound.more
It's always daunting, isn't it, to review a classic that so many people have read?We discussed Huck Finn in my American Lit class this semester, and overall there really was quite a bit to discuss, despite the story being a very well-known one (at least to me). There is more to this book than than a simple story of a boy and a man floating down the river in a raft.What I loved about this reading of Huck Finn is that we were also to read Toni Morrison's Introduction to it. It was through this Introduction that I was able to see the story in a completely new light - and to understand just what was so "wonderfully troubling" about it.Morrison talks a lot about silence in the book - the silence in those moments of floating down the river, the silence with regard to learning much of anything about Jim's family, the silence with which Huck treats his friendship with Tom. Then there's the silence of Jim toward Huck - why did he fail to disclose who that man was under the cloth? This is an extraordinarily troubling book, but yes.. a wonderful one as well. It's enlightening - it shows how hard the struggle was to accept the idea that a human is a human, no matter his or her skin color. It's educational, it reminds us of where we've come from in an effort to remind us of where we should not return. It's captured history through the dialect of Jim. It's a look at two individuals escaping slavery - Jim the actual slavery, and Huck, escaping abuse at the hand of his father.I always recommend these books. Tom Sawyer is more suited to younger audiences (although I personally find Tom to be a scoundrel), but Huck Finn is a must read for teenagers and adults.more
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a book that I remembered fondly from my childhood that actually holds up to another reading as an adult. Twain's wit and humor still carry the story for me as when I was a child, however, this time around, I was better able to appreciate the social and political commentary infused throughout the story. That's the magic of Twain's masterpiece: it's attraction to both young and old for both the same and different facets. For the young, this is a rollicking adventure story of an ornery youth and his escaped slave friend. It's the classic buddy tale infused with humor and narrow escapes. For the adult, There are the deeper layers of Huck's constant struggle with his own inner morality versus the popular opinion of what is considered to be right in the eyes of whites in the pre-civil war Mississippi River area.For a great escape and a look into the culture of the central United States just prior to the Civil War, I highly recommend Huckleberry Finn for all audiences.more
Setting: Huck Finn is set on the Mississippi River before the Civil War and deals with the themes of friendship and human vices.Plot: Huck Finn, an orphan, escapes town on a raft and has many adventures with Jim, a runaway slave.Characters: Huck Finn (protagonist)- independent, thoughtful; Jim- slave, honest; Tom Sawyer- romantic, adventurous; Duke and King (antagonists)- two con men out for moneySymbols: river; Allusions: Hamlet, romantic literatureCharacteristics: an indirect satire on human vicesResponse: at first it was hard to read but eventually it became more intriguing. I appreciated it, but I personally dislike the plot.more
The introduction to the Norton Critical Edition notes: "Originally, Huck's adventures were banned from public libraries and schools for being crude and using bad grammar. Now the issue is racism." In putting the criticisms in context and modern responses to it, I found the Norton Critical Edition valuable, particularly the essays by Jane Smiley, who compares the novel unfavorably to Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; Toni Morrison, who calls the book "amazing" despite feeling Jim is presented as "minstrelized" and a "buffoon" and David L. Smith, who points out how it is precisely through Jim's very characterization that Twain subtlety subverts the racist stereotypes of his time. The book does make for uncomfortable reading for a contemporary reader. The introduction notes the word "nigger" is used over 200 times. By itself, I don't think that should bother people. I've stopped reading books that fling racial epithets more sparingly than Twain's book. It was a major reason I couldn't take reading more of Guthrie's Big Sky--I felt so assaulted by it. But it's a word used frequently after all by African American authors such as Toni Morrison herself. It's appropriate in a book presented as written in the first person by the barely literate child of the town drunk in the Antebellum South. And I think something about Huck's innocence and Twain's satiric purpose and cynicism bubbling in the subtext cut a lot of the offensiveness for me. Of course, the charges of racism go beyond the use of a particular word. However, I think those who decry the work as racist forget Huck's role as an "unreliable narrator" as well as the use of irony. I agree with Smith that Huck's depiction of Jim shouldn't be taken at face value. And Smith picks out this passage in particular:"Good gracious! anybody hurt?""No'm. Killed a nigger.""Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt."Anyone who can't see the savage satire and swat at racism in that.... Well, I have a friend who tried Huckleberry Finn as a child and said she was immediately turned off because it was so racist. Naturally. I'm surprised anyone could see Huckleberry Finn as a children's book. Children are notoriously literal-minded, and tend not to appreciate irony. I'd think adults would know better, but I've known people who think it offensive to use humor in serious matters despite its long history in works of political dissent. I remember one person who said they were offended greatly by All in the Family because it had people laughing at racism. Smiley accuses Huckleberry Finn of not being a "serious" book--she prefers the way Stowe handles issues of race, despite conceding Stowe also embraces some racial stereotypes. I recently read Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I do think the book is greatly underrated and misrepresented (among other things, Uncle Tom is no Uncle Tom). Uncle Tom's Cabin is indeed a very serious book--it's also at times cloyingly sentimental and unbearably preachy and the prose stiff and formal. And Huck is a much more convincing portrait of a child than "Little Eva" who seemed born a saint. Huck's moral growth is a lot more difficult, conflicted and subtle, and to me therefore a lot more moving and real.I do prefer the style of Huckleberry Finn--the way Twain masterfully uses the vernacular and a fourteen-year-old narrator to examine the corrupt and hypocritical ways of adults and their "civilization." The depiction of Huck's abuse by his father is all the more heart-breaking for Huck's absolute lack of self-pity. Through that adolescent voice Twain manages to give you a sense of the magic and majesty of the Mississippi River, and I'll take the book's "bad grammar" over the formal, stiff prose of the British and Continental literature then being written--even if some of the eccentric spellings and use of dialect can make some parts tough going. Beyond the critique of racism, the book is a sharp and general critique of Southern culture. I found telling one note in the Norton Critical Edition that mentioned Twain's hatred of Scott's Ivanhoe and how he felt "the Sir Walter Scott disease" infesting the South with its "sham chivalries" helped incite the American Civil War. That made sense for me of the role of the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, the characters of the "King" and the "Duke" and maybe even Tom Sawyer's fantastic schemes. Think of Huckleberry Finn as the ultimate anti-Gone With the Wind. The book is not perfect, and I think the eleven chapter Tom Sawyer episode at the end is strung along far too long, but I'm more of Smith's and Morrison's opinion than that of Ms Smiley--for the most part, an amazing book--docked a star for that much-criticized ending--and because at times Jim does strike me as buffoonish.more
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