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Huck Finn Reading Questions

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-full text.

Answer the following questions as you read and finish the novel. Use quotes whenever possible.

1. Huck Finn is a thirteen-year-old boy. Why does Twain use a child as the center of consciousness in this book?

2. Discuss Twain’s use of dialects in the novel. What effect does this usage have on the reader? Does it make the novel less of an artistic achievement?

3. Discuss the use of the river as a symbol in the novel.

4. Lying occurs frequently in this novel. Curiously, some lies, like those Huck tells to save Jim, seem to be “good” lies, while others, like the cons of the duke and the dauphin, seem to be “bad.” What is the difference? Are both “wrong”? Why does so much lying go on in Huckleberry Finn?

5. Describe some of the models for families that appear in the novel. What is the importance of family structures? What is their place in society? Do Huck and Jim constitute a family? What about Huck and Tom? When does society intervene in the family?

6. The revelation at the novel’s end that Tom has known all along that Jim is a free man is startling. Is Tom inexcusably cruel? Or is he just being a normal thirteen-year-old boy? Does Tom’s behavior comment on society in some larger way?

7. What techniques does Twain use to create sympathy for his characters, in particular, Jim? Are these techniques effective?

8. Discuss the place of morality in Huckleberry Finn. In the world of the novel, where do moral values come from? The community? The family? The church? One’s experiences? Which of these potential sources does Twain privilege over the others? Which does he mock, or describe disapprovingly?

9. Why might Twain have decided to set the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery, despite the fact that he published it in 1885, two decades after the end of the Civil War?

10. Is this a racist book? Should students read it in high school?


At 7:38 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

1. Twain uses a thirteen year old boy as the center of consciousness in his book because he is a child and has not been exposed to as many bad things. By using a boy as the narrator, he gives us a more honest account because he does not really know the degree of the things that he is doing. A child is still innocent and doesn’t really know right from wrong so the things that are done in the book are a lot more believable.
2. The dialect that Twain uses in his novel is very bad. The novel is written in bad grammar and like slang. The dialect of the white people and the black people are not very similar because the white people are educated so they can speak better. For example Aunt Sally would say, “He’s alive, thank God! And that’s enough!”, while Jim the slave would say, “Say--who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I din’ hear sumf’n. Well, I knows what I’s gwyne do. I’s gwyne to set down hear and listen tell I hears it agin.” the effect that this usage has on the reader is that it is harder to understand. Sometimes it does not make sense or it is hard to make sense of what the people try to say. I think it makes the novel less of an artistic achievement because it’s harder to understand and the reader might not get an important point that twain tried to portray.
3. The use of the river is a symbol of the road to freedom for Jim and the road to a safe home for Huck. The river to Jim is the way that will lead him to the North and make him a free man, where he will be able to set free the rest of his family. “He said he'd be mighty sure to see it, because he'd be a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it he'd be in a slave country again and no more show for freedom. Every little while he jumps up and says: "Dah she is?" For Huck the river symbolizes a new beginning and a safe place away from his drunken father. “I judged I'd hide her good, and then, 'stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I'd go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on foot.”
4. The difference between those lies is that the lies that Huck tells Jim are to protect him or to play a joke on him while the lies that the duke and the king say are just to trick and deceive people into believing that they are somebody that they aren’t. The les are different because the bad lies hurt people and are used to steal their money while the good lies don’t really do much harm. They are both wrong in a sense that any lie is bad but the good lies are accepted by society because they are for our own protection. A lot of lying goes on in the novel because Jim and Huck have to be on the look out since they have both runaway. The lies that are told are mostly so the people in the various towns won’t find out who Huck truly is.
5. Some of the models for families that appear in the novel are Tom Sawyer’s gang, the widow, Jim, the king and duke, the Grangerfords, Mary Jane’s sisters, and the Phelps. Some of the families like the Phelps, the Grangerford’s and Mary Jane’s sisters treated Huck like he was a part of the family. The were all the type of family that was caring and hospitable. The other models for families were individual people that cared for Huck and kept him company. The importance of family structure is stressed because Huck didn’t have a proper family and he was forced to runaway and find a better place to live. Families have the highest pace in society because that is what the society is all about. Family is the most important thing and it should be cherished. Huck and Jim constitute a family because Jim was like father to Huck. While they were on their journey. Huck also took care of Jim because he tried his best to not get him caught. Huck and Tom are like a family because they are friends and they look after one another. Society intervenes in the family when they capture Jim and want to send him back to his slave life.
6. Tom is not cruel he is just being a regular teenager and not thinking about things straight. He wants to have fun so he keeps things that are of extreme importance to himself. "Well, that is a question, I must say; and just like women! Why, I wanted the adventure of it; and I'd a waded neck-deep in blood to -- goodness alive, AUNT POLLY!" He just wanted to imitate one of the many adventures that appeared in the books that he read.
7. The techniques that Twain uses to create sympathy for his characters are things like loneliness, shame, and the love of family. These techniques are effective because the reader sympathizes for Jim because he is a slave and he is separated from his family. “He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn't sell them, they'd get an Ab'litionist to go and steal them.” He risks his life to be free and hopes to someday free his family so they can all be together again. “He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked the door and put the key under his head nights.” The reader also feels sorry for Huck because he has a drunk for a father that tries to take his money. Huck is forced to run away because of the way his father treats him.
8. The characters in the novel have some moral but a lot of the novel contains lies. Most of the people that Huck finds have morals because they let him stay with them and they help him. In the world of the novel the moral values come from the church and the family. The source that Twain privileges over the other is the church because he doesn’t talk about church as much. The one that he mocks is the community because he describes communities as cowards and just people that go along with what one person says.
9. He might have decided to set the novel in the time of slavery to show the people the way that a slave felt and the things that he goes through. Although it was set before the abolition of slavery he sets his point of view on the matter of slavery. For example when Tom said, “They hain't no right to shut him up! Shove! -- and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! he ain't no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks this earth!”
10. I don’t believe that it is a racist book because that was they way of life in that time. Twain only does his job by describing the ways of the people in that time. Any book that is written in or about that time might seem racist to us know because of the way that the black people are portrayed but that was how it truly was. Students should read this book because it gives a better understanding of the way life was back then and how the slaves led their life.

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Jernsberger said...

1. The author used a child as the center of consciousness within the book since the child has no true ideals about society as adults have. Huck does not have any set opinions on topics such racial discrimination, criminal acts, and so on. Therefore, we can then view the common ideology that most Southerners maintain in an unbiased view. For instance, when Huck goes to rescue Jim, he states, “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” This implies that he understands society’s views on racial discrimination, though it does not necessarily mean that he believes society’s view proving that he does not have completely set opinions.

2. The dialects affect the readers by giving a better perspective of a southern boy during those times. It also gives the reader a clearer perspective on the main character’s education showing how his education is limited. It does make the novel a better artistic achievement since the novel is able to give readers a better sense of how a southern thirteen year old acts and thinks allowing the readers to establish more details about the main character. For instance, I was able to grasp the limits of his education and at the same time capture the nature of his ways of thinking proving that he was not an idiot. He did see past racial discrimination by helping Jim, which implies that he was smart enough to come to conclusions that no one is superior in race.

3. The river symbolizes maturation and growth within the novel. As Huck travels down the river to Cairo and escapes his hometown with Jim, Huck formulates many opinions about Jim and on how society views racial differences. He gains opinions on con men and sees past fun coating books gives criminals. In fact, Huck is ashamed by the human race when Dauphin and the Duke pretend they are the brothers of Peter Wilks to acquire the family fortune.

4. Good lies are meant to achieve something for the greater good such as saving Jim, a good person, from his evils. Bad lies are meant to achieve something for the greater evil such as the ones told by Dauphin and the Duke, who lie to acquire money and other items to quench their greed. Only bad lies are wrong since their purpose is to achieve a greater evil. I cannot really say why a lot of lies occur within the book. From the author’s perspective, he probably added a lot of lies to continue the story and create more problems to create more adventures for Huckleberry Finn. Since this type of people and circumstances were presented within the book, lying was unavoidable. Huckleberry was brought up in a situation that forced him to lie in order to live through life. The two con artists’ profession revolved around lying. Therefore, lying was bound to occur around them.

5. The two models for families that appear within the story are Jim and Huck, and Silas and Sally Phelps. The former is a temporary family, who help each other no matter what situation they are in. The other portrays the loving family consisting of the traditional husband and wife who would be ready to comfort any family member, as in the case of Huck who pretended he was Tom. The importance of family structure is vital since structure supports the family and provides rules on how to take care for their family. Huck and Jim do constitute a family since they care for one another. Families do not necessarily have to be related by blood, but they must care for one another. Huck and Tom could be considered friends but not family since, if they were really family, Tom would have told about Jim’s freedom sooner and taken Huck’s problem more seriously. Society intervenes in a family when they stop caring for one another and do not care for each other’s well being.

6. Tom is only thirteen-years old. Therefore his idiocy can be forgiven to a certain degree. His lie comments on society’s idea of child rearing by showing how parents are not capable of teaching to a thirteen-year old child when a lie has gone too far. It also comments on how society does not learn from its own mistakes since parents have behaved the same way when they were children, but still fail at teaching children how cruel lying can be.

7. Twain creates sympathy for Jim by continuously shifting him into sad or bad situations such as when he was mourning his lost family or was taken to jail by Dauphin. His techniques are effective since the circumstances that the time period puts Jim in cannot help but make a reader mourn for his circumstances. In my case, I cannot sympathize for Jim since he did beat his daughter and maybe, I would have taken this less seriously if I was reared in that manner, but still, I cannot forgive anyone for hitting a child.

8. Moral values come from one’s experience within the novel. This is proven when Huck is ashamed of the con artists’ scam of stealing the Wilks’ money even though he previously was thrilled to be a thief in Tom’s gang. Twain seems to mock the community’s ability to endow moral values since in the novel the community sets a terrible example several times within the novel. For example, when Dauphin and the Duke ripped off the community with their only-for-adults short show, the people acted like fools and tricked the rest of the communities’ people by pretending that their show was great. This illustrates a lack of strong moral values.

9. If Twain had not set the book within that time period, he would have never been able to truly capture Huck’s growth and maturation in the development of his opinions. Had Twain set the book after the civil war, Jim would have not been a slave, and Huck would have looked upon Jim without a racist prejudice. Furthermore, the story revolves mostly around a runaway slave, which would have not been possible if it was told after the civil war, when slavery was abolished.

10. No, this is not a racist book since racists would never dream of allowing a black man to set free within the end of the book. This book should be read in college since in high school we should be focusing on literary works that can give us a better foundation for writing.

At 9:15 PM, Anonymous cpedroza said...

1. Twain used a boy because he is innocent to the evil in the world.
By using a boy as the narrator, he gives us a more sincere account because he is just a child and doesn’t understand how the world works. A child this young hasn’t been influenced by society as much as an adult may have been. A thirteen-year-old has a more free and unbiased view on the situation. It’s also easier to manipulate and grabs the audience’s attention.

2. Twain used a lot of bad grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. He made use of many slang terms to convey a more realistic atmosphere according to the time it took place. He emphasized how the whites are more educated than the blacks in the way of their speech patterns. The people like Jim didn’t speak proper English.

3.The river symbolizes the rebirth of Huck. As Huck sails down the river he experiences a change in ideas and opinions. When before he would have given away Jim now, on chapter 16, he is more considerate and doesn’t give him up as a ran away slave.

4. The difference is the Huck’s lies are to save someone. To keep someone from harms way. The “bad” lies are the ones told for one’s advantage or to get their way. So much lies are told because the journey entails many lies. It’s not just a straight shot but contains many curves.

5. Some of the models for families that appear are the widow, the king and duke, the Grangerfords, and the Phelps. Families like the Phelps, the Grangerford’s saw Huck as another family member. They were what a family should be. They were caring, welcoming, and protective. The importance of family structure is emphasized in the way that Huck didn’t have aproper family. His dad was a drunk and would always hit him. This made him grown up into a boy that drank, lied, and wasn’t like the rest. He became independent at an early age.

6. Tom isn’t being cruel. He is just acting like any other kid in that point in time. His behavior was brought on by how he was brought up in that society.

7. Twain makes a serious of tragedies befall the characters. These tragedies help us feel sympathy for them through out the novel. Also by bringing different family structures. Huck doesn’t have a nice father so the audience feels bad for him.

8. In the world of the novel morality comes from family, community, and one’s own experiences. All three play a part in structuring someone’s morality. Twain emphasizes on one’s own experience. He mocks on the community as influence.

9. Twain wanted to add more flavor to the novel. He also wanted to set the novel in a period where so many people were repressed.

10. This isn’t a racist book and it should definitely be read in high school.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Enrique said...

1) In the novel, Mark Twain uses the child as the center of consciousness mainly to show us the boy’s perspective of his experiences, how weak a child is, and finding out wrong from right. Also, since he doesn’t know anything morally in society, it allows us to see his moralistic growth.

2) In the novel, we see a unique use of dialect, which in addition, doesn’t make it a great artistic achievement because it’s so hard to comprehend and most likely will scare readers away like for example, myself, honestly. The dialogue used by Jim in this quote sounds like a southern type dialogue, which is sometimes confusing, but does reflect on who he really is to us, “Yo' ole father doan' know yit what he's a-gwyne to do. Sometimes he spec he'll go 'way, en den agin he spec he'll stay.” It’s a little confusing in trying to grasp the main idea of what was said.

3) Overall, the river most significantly symbolizes freedom for both Jim and Huckleberry. Both are similar in their quest for liberty from the authority, which in this case the dad for Huck, and Mrs. Watson for Jim. This also has an affect on their relationship as they go to the mouth of the Ohio River and on to the Free states.

4) There isn’t really a difference between the good lies and the bad lies, mainly because they both have the same effect. Lying to save Jim and lying about the duke and dauphin are both bad, deep down inside of Huck. Although a lie can be good depending on its purpose. For example when Huck and Jim encountered a group of men looking for escaped slaves, Huck said “pap's got the small-pox”, and allowed them to continue on. The bad part of lying knowing yourself in your soul that you lied. The society and lying among American children is the reason why it is present so much in Huck Finn.

5) Sawyer’s Gang, and Huck and Jim are some of the models for families that appear in the novel. The importance of family structure is knowing that you have complete trust in them, and that they will be besides you through thick and thin. Huck and Jim certainly constitute a family for the reason that they care for each other and have developed a strong relationship on their journey in the river. For example, Jim doesn’t let Huck see his father’s dead body in the floating house, for the reason that Jim is smart and caring about Huck’s feeling, “doan' look at his face -- it's too gashly." Huck and Tom also constitute family for the reason of friendship for a period of time, that develops that love. Society intervenes in a family when such issues like slavery are dealt with and causes disaster in family, just like Jim and Huck.

6) Tom’s teenage behavior was not cruel mainly because of his life style in society, which was typically normal. For society, it basically puts the picture that they are giving into teenage lies, in other words, they are gullible.

7) Some of the techniques that Mark Twain used for showing sympathy towards Jim were using slavery and his skin color as the main source of sorrow for him. His techniques were undoubtedly effective, mainly because you can easily grasp the readers emotions and sympathy by saying that he was in seek of freedom and was racially discriminated because of his skin color.

8) In the novel’s world, morality derives mostly from family and one’s personal experiences that have a great affect. It seems as if Twaine privileges the source of family and experiences over the others, for example church, mainly due to the lack of mentioning it.

9) I believe that he might have decided to set the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery because he wanted to send a message to the people of how cruel slavery was, and how it was wrong to mankind. In addition, after the abolition of slavery, the people would reflect upon their actions committed and would not do something similar in the future.

10) Personally, I don’t consider this novel to be racist. Although it does use the “ N “ word repeatedly, as seen here, “If you see any runaway niggers you get help and nab them, and you can make some money by it,” it is not intended to be racist against blacks. It has to be used because it is truly what they were called back then. Twaine has no intention in being racist; he is using it to display how freedom was sought by many. I think that it should be read in high school because it displays the great bond of a black and white person during the slavery period.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Hiranya Keenawinna said...

1)Huck was used as a center of consciousness because he’s still a child and does not know of the bad things in the world. He’s aware of the things that are happening but he doesn’t know what is good for him and what is not. ‘I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him; but when he says this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck all out of me. I went along slow then, and I warn't right down certain whether I was glad I started or whether I warn't.’( Page 119) He knows that helping Jim will make him the right man but disobeying the law is not a good thing either. He’s learning for himself what is good for him.

2)It was confusing at first with his way of writing. I got confused at times but it got the impression of the time and the person. It was easy to understand the white man’s dialect but whenever Jim spoke it took some time to get the gist of what he’s saying. It shows the readers how people talked back then and transports the person into that time period. It may seem confusing at first but you get the idea.

3)Huck and Jim go down the river to get to “Cairo” where Jim will finally be free slave. The River is a symbolic because it’s the only way for Jim to be free and for Huck to find his independence and himself. ‘The river was very wide, and was walled with solid timber on both sides; you couldn't see a break in it hardly ever, or a light. We talked about Cairo, and wondered whether we would know it when we got to it.’ (1172). It was a sign that the river would lead them to Cairo where they would find what they wanted.

4)The good lies are when Huck lies to protect Jim or to play jokes on him. The bad lies would be for when Huck would use it to take money or food for people. Yet the lies are useful and they do help Huck to survive on his own. It’s rather remarkable how he’s able to concoct such good stories. His lies only made the book more interesting and it was this sense of suspense as to how he would get out of his lies and he always did in the end. ‘I was a-listenin' to all de talk, en I slips into de river en was gwyne to shove for sho' if dey come aboard. Den I was gwyne to swim to de raf' agin when dey was gone. But lawsy, how you did fool 'em, Huck! Dat wuz de smartes' dodge! I tell you, chile, I'spec it save' ole Jim -- ole Jim ain't going to forgit you for dat, honey.’ (123)

5)Families appear in the novel to show the readers the way of family life. They all had a connection and they all had each other’s backs in the families. There was the Tom Sawyer’s gang, the Grangerfords, and the Phelps which all accepted Huck into their families and he fits in. Huck was an orphan and he finds that the families who accept him are what he wants badly. Jim and Huck are like family in the sense that Jim is like a brother to Huck and he takes care of Huck by telling him of the things that are bad luck. They share a close bond because they have the same goal.

6)Tom is just a young teenager and doesn’t fully know about the things. He sees things in a different way and he’s an arrogant kid too who thinks he know everything. He explains that it’s the parents fault that you can’t blame the child for how he turned out. It was the parents that raised him that way.

7)Twain makes the reader feel sympathy for Jim with talk of his family. He uses the fact that his family is no longer with him and he must work very hard to get his own family. It makes the reader realize how unfair life was at the time and makes Jim seem like a good man who’s life is just about to begin. ‘He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn't sell them, they'd get an Ab'litionist to go and steal them.’(182)

8)The whole book had morals but it also has contradictions as well. Huck learns after all the lies but it’s the only way that he can learn. The communities are never really sure how they should go, they lean on the authority’s decision and push at it until it becomes law.

9)The reason why Twain may have set that period is because he didn’t want to arouse any questions at the time or he might have decided to make the community of that time realize that beneath his words, the blacks are still treated the same. He may have also wanted to tell people his own opinion on slavery.

10) This book isn’t racist at all. The author is just stating his opinion and his storytelling. It is an interesting story to read. It’s about a boy who ran away and wanted to find himself a life with which he could be happy with and he helped along a friend and learned who he was though that deed. Students may read it because it gives us an understanding of the history and of the minds-set that many kids at the time were having. They were forming their own ideas and their own opinions on slavery and other such things. It’s an example of what’s happening with us.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger kfopma said...

1. Mark Twain uses a thirteen year old child as the center of consciousness in this book because it provides a relatively innocent view of the world for the story to develop in. Of course, Huck Finn himself is not a very innocent young boy, but he still retains a certain naivete about things such as religion and justice. When Miss Watson tells him about heaven, Huck says, “Well, I couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t try for it.” (Ch.1, Pg.3) Twain’s use of Huck as the first person narrator allows the reader to view occasional harsh facts of the worlds without the benefit of personal experience.

2. The use of dialects in the novel makes it more authentic. The dialects used give the novel a vibrancy of life, infusing a timeless with story with historic power through the words of realistic American characters. One dialect used is Jim’s black slave dialect: “Ef you’s got hairy arms en a hairy breas’, it’s a sign dat you’s a-gwyne to be rich.” (8, 46) The dialects actually make the novel a greater artistic achievement because they lend authenticity to what would be a great story nonetheless.

3. In the novel, the river symbolizes a road to freedom from some sort of entrapment. Huck just wants to get out of what he sees as an unexciting domestic life. “All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn’t particular.” (1, 2-3) For Jim, the river is the path that will lead him out of slavery. The river is often the only escape route for the pair. As many times as they get into trouble on the shore, as soon as they get back out on their raft, they’re once again moving towards freedom from their respective forms of bondage.

4. There is constant lying in the novel, and there are noted differences between the lies of Huck and the lies of the two con-men. Despite a few mean pranks, Huck mostly lies without hurting anybody. He sees lying as a way to stay out of trouble, thinking that it’s better for everybody if the other party doesn’t know the truth. “I reckon that a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks.” (28, 186) The lies that are seen as wrong are the ones perpetuated by the two con-men. “It made my eyes water a little to remember her crying there all by herself in the night, and them devils laying there right under her own roof, shaming her and robbing her.” (28, 191) The lies considered to be wrong are the malicious ones told at the expense of others.

5. One model for a family in Huckleberry Finn is the Grangerford family, who briefly adopt Huck before being destroyed by a bloody feud. The Grangerfords show the tragic side of middle class existence in the Southern society. A family should be a caring group of people who provide a safe haven from the seemingly chaotic nature of the world. Therefore, Huck and Jim actually constitute a more ideal “family” than the Grangerfords. “You wouldn’t ‘a ben here ‘f it hadn’t ‘a ben for Jim.” (9, 49) Jim and Huck rescue each other from terrible situations, and provide a family-like care for each other through everything. That pair, as with the pair of Tom and Huck, are a much better family than the Grangerfords, or any of the other family models in the book.

6. Tom is not displaying an extraordinary cruelty in his hiding of Jim’s freedom. He is actually being rather normal in his treatment of the situation. Most young boys would want to have some adventure with the situation, instead of simply bringing a message. However, Tom’s behavior does provide some social commentary through his treatment of Jim. Although Tom’s mischief was not necessarily racist, white society would often take measures to disrupt a former slave’s freedom. So, Tom’s behavior is a miniature display of society’s treatment of black slaves.

7. Twain creates sympathy for his characters by putting them through hardship and suffering. Jim in particular is put through many tribulations as he runs from the slave-chasers, hides in the woods for days at a time, is forced by Tom Sawyer to make a prison for himself, and to top it all off, becomes the victim of mean tricks perpetrated by his only friend, Huck Finn. This technique works, for the most part, because it gets the reader to feel sorry for the plight of Jim.

8. For most characters in the novel, morals are formed from ideas of the community and the church. The community forms the morals in the account of Sherburn and Boggs, relying on their shifting opinions to bring justice to the town. However, the church forms the morals of most of the characters in the novel. This is the form of morality which Twain mocks, in preference of Huck’s system of experience. “Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which shows his disapproval of a religiously based moral system.

9. Twain may have decided to set the novel in a time period before the abolition of slavery in order to show the reader in his time what had changed and what had not changed since the Civil War. Specifically, he could show his contemporary reader that although slavery had been abolished, the harsh treatment for Southern blacks continued in the same fashion. The book would help the reader in Twain’s time to see the progression (or lack of progression) in Southern culture in the previous decades.

10. Huckleberry Finn is not a racist novel. Although it portrays a very racist time and culture, it also contains a great deal of sympathy for the black characters. “I can’t ever get it out of my memory, the sight of them poor miserable girls and niggers hanging around each other’s necks and crying.” (27, 182) Despite a constant use of the word “nigger”, the book humanizes the black characters, especially Jim. If the book was racist, it would have showed the slaves as simple animals. Instead, it portrays them as humans stuck in a tragic situation. It shows the state of society at the time, and should be read in schools.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous mkawano said...

1. Many say that children are honest in what they say and think. They’re not exposed to as much experience, such as murder, robber, love and other things, as an adult. “We played robber now and then about a month, and then I resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't robbed nobody, hadn't killed any people, but only just pretended.“ (Chapter 3) Twain use a child, Huckleberry Finn, to show the truth, which is his honesty, about the story because children are more likely follow their self conscience. “I'll up and tell the truth this time,….” (Chapter 28) In this chapter, Huckleberry Finn confesses about the frauds, king and the duke, because his conscience thought it was better to tell the truth than a lie. This shows the readers about the good and bad about human beings through the boy’s eyes. It shows the innocence that everyone has, if he or she is willing to confess about the truth.
2.. Twain’s use of dialects are unique in the novel. The dialects does not necessarily make the novel artistic in a beautiful and majestic, but it shows how simple the people were during that time. “‘I ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout I see de security.’” (Chapter 8) This is when Jim is talking, but it shows that African Americans, such as Jim, did not receive education in that time. They have to adapt the words from other people in order to communicate with them. The reader can assume people, in that time, did not receive few or any education. The reader can also assume that education was building up and improving because Huckleberry Finn went to school and he was about to read and write, but it was not to the point where the community stressed on education for children.
3. In the novel, the river symbolizes as an education. While Huckleberry Finn and Jim have a separate goal they want to achieve, they have to go through the same course, the river, to obtain it. Jim’s main goal is to go to the Northern states and be free while Huckleberry Finn wants to get away from his father and Miss Watson. “He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife….” (Chapter 16) During their voyage, they learn about things they never expected. Jim and Huckleberry Finn goes through the same river and same experience, which is the education.
4. Lying occurs throughout the novel, but depending on the lies, it can be good or bad. When duke and the dauphin told a lie, but was for their own benefit. “‘Quick sales and small profits! It's a good business -- yes.’” (Chapter 27) They would trick people to get more money out of them. They are only helping themselves and harming others. Huckleberry Finn lies, but it helps Jim. Also, his lies doesn’t harm anyone. His lies is used to hide hid identity and help Jim get his freedom. People say that it is wrong to lie, but it may help someone’s life. In desperate times, lying is a tool people can use. Many lies go on in this novel because it shows how lies can benefit the community or benefit for one’s selfishness. The reader can see that lying can be good to some point, but even a white lie has some consequences.
5. There were various kinds of family models in the novel such as Huckleberry Finn’s family, Tom Sawyer’s family, Grangerfords and Shepherdsons, duke and dauphin, and many others that Huckleberry Finn encountered during his trip. Huckleberry Finn’s family was unique because his father is not there all of the time, Miss Watson is taking care of Huckleberry Finn, and Jim is a servant who becomes close to him later on. Tom Sawyer’s family is bad at identifying people because they thought Huckleberry Finn was Tom Sawyer and Tom as Sid Sawyer. There’s a conflict between Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons. The feud started long time ago so it’s been a tradition for them to fight against each other. “‘It started thirty year ago, or som'ers along there. There was trouble 'bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit -- which he would naturally do, of course. Anybody would.’” (Chapter 18) Duke and the dauphin have a strong bond with each other because they have many things in common, but they are both men. The importance of family structure is that it shows what kind of family people have in the world. Different people varies in different parts of the world. In society, people have to accept different kinds of families because not every family will be the same. Huck and Jim and constitute a family because both do care for each other as a sibling would. The same goes for Huck and Tom. They are almost like brothers looking out for each other. The society intervene when families starts forgetting people and stop caring for the,
6. Tom looks cruel because of his action, but it is not his fault that he takes cruel actions. Children imitate other people thinking it’s okay to do the same thing. Children, such as Tom who is a thirteen-year-old boy, are easily influenced. “Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate-books and robber-books, and every gang that was high-toned had it.” (Chapter 2) It is not normal for a thirteen-year-old to be thinking about dangerous things, but the society is to be blamed for his action. By looking at Tom’s behavior, readers can see how they take care of the children and how they’re censoring the environment around them.
7. The technique he used to put sympathy for his character is his dialogue and how he uses the characters in the story. Jim’s lack of speaking was from not going to school, but Jim’s dialogue still gives feeling about what he is saying. “‘Ef I could git de ten cents back, I'd call it squah, en be glad er de chanst.’” (Chapter 8) Also, Jim was the one who gets in trouble and Huck or someone else has to rescue him. This shows that he is weak because he has no rights except being a slave. These techniques are effective because it shows Jim’s true character in the book.
8. In the novel, morality comes from all over the places such as community, family, church, experiences, and many others. Twain privileges one’s experience because he shows that people can only teach knowledge, but mistakes has to be taken by themselves. During the voyage, Huck knows that lying is bad, but he doesn not understand it until he’s in a tight situation. “… I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks, though I ain't had no experience, and can't say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway….” (Chapter 28) Twain mocks the family because there were no family that was a “good” family. People died or got hurt and Huck met the families on his journey.
9. Twain decided to set the novel before the war because he wanted people to see what it was like to have slavery. If the book was published after the war and the abolition of slavery, people won’t understand how hard it was to be a slave in the time. This way, people will oppose to slavery and it will prevent the war from happening.
10. The book is only racist to African Americans because there were no other different race. It compared between an American, such as Huck, and an African American, such as Jim. The novel shows that Huck was powerful and can handle anything in any situation because he’s an American, but Jim was weak and had no skill to get out in a small situation. Students should read this book in high school because it has different morals to the story. Also, it is interesting to learn how they can manage to lie all over the place without getting in trouble. The only thing I’m against is the writing of the book. The way Twain have written this book is a good idea to show that people didn’t have enough education to talk normally, but it confuses the reader what people are trying to say, especially Jim.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger chelsea said...

1)This novel is a very coming of age type story. Children are known as innocence, and all the things that Huck Finn does shows that he is trying to be on his own and grow up on his own terms. It is also common to hear that children are the future. If a child is as wild, adventurous and brave as Huck Finn, then that shows that the future of the nation has someone to be brave.
2)While reading this novel, I kept getting mixed up with who was saying what and I had to read it over again, sometimes out loud. I think that this might actually make the reader pay more attention to what is being said. I noticed that to keep the reader from getting completely lost in the conversations between Huck and Jim, Twain continued to have Huck repeat Jim’s name. “ "What did you do with the ten cents, Jim?" "Well, I 'uz gwyne to spen' it, but I had a dream, en de dream tole me to give it to a nigger name' Balum -- Balum's Ass dey call him for short…” "Well, what did come of it, Jim?" "Nuffn never come of it. I couldn' manage to k'leck dat money no way; en Balum he couldn'. I ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout I see de security. Boun' to git yo' money back a hund'd times, de preacher says! Ef I could git de ten cents back, I'd call it squah, en be glad er de chanst." "Well, it's all right anyway, Jim, long as you're going to be rich again some time or other." "Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it..” (chapter 8 pg 50) It must have taken some time for Twain to write down the certain words and correct spelling of the incorrect grammer of these conversations; its difficult to spell certain pronunciations. This adds to the artistic achievement.
3)For Huck Finn in this novel, the river is freedom. Water never stops moving; it just keeps going and for Huck Finn it was nice knowing that there was something in the world that could just keep moving and had no certain place to go. The river takes Jim and Huck to freedom. Freedom away from Huck’s drunken father and freedom toward the free states for Jim. However, weather changes and even though the river keeps moving, the floods that occur symbolize that not evrything is perfect and peaceful.

4) “Good” lies are told to get a person out of trouble and “bad” lies are told to get a person in to trouble. Huck tells “good” lies to protect his friend and I believe that this is not wrong. Children often lie and end up getting in more trouble when their parents find out what realy happened and that the lie was indeed a lie because honesty is important. Twain in a way tells children to obey their parents by giving examples of the two kinds of lies.

5) Families are very important. Jim and Huck form a father son type relationship. We first see this when there is the flood in the beginning and Jim does not let Huck see the dead body drift by. Tom and Huck have a brother type relationship; they really are blood brothers, but the relationship that they share can not be fund easily. Society interferes with Jim and Huck’s relation ship because Jim is black.

6) I think that Tom is just being a normal thirteen year old boy. For example, when everyone around you is talking about a band that you have never heard of you say that you have heard of them and just kind of nod along. Teenagers do this often. If you look deeper into it, you can find that Tom’s behaivior tells us that society plays follow the leader and just plays along with the crowd; its true.

7) We start with having sympathy for Huck because his father is a drunk who hits him. “By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet looking wild, and he see me and went for me. He chased me round and round the place with a clasp-knife, calling me the Angel of Death, and saying he would kill me, and then I couldn't come for him no more. I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but he laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and kept on chasing me up. Once when I turned short and dodged under his arm he made a grab and got me by the jacket between my shoulders, and I thought I was gone; but I slid out of the jacket quick as lightning, and saved myself. Pretty soon he was all tired out… So he dozed off pretty soon. By and by I got the old split-bottom chair and clumb up as easy as I could, not to make any noise, and got down the gun. I slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was loaded, then I laid it across the turnip barrel, pointing towards pap, and set down behind it to wait for him to stir.” Twain has Jim tell stories of hard times to create sympathy for him. Twain also has people talk about him as if he were a lower being. “Jim's a nigger, and wouldn't understand the reasons for it, and how it's the custom in Europe…” “Jim ain't got no use for a rope ladder.” “Jim can't write." I would say that these are effective.

9) Twain wanted to show how hard it was for the people at the time, not only the black population, but the people attached to the balck population. Savery was a big deal and Twain wanted to express his views.

10) I do not think that this is a racist book. Twain just tells the story as it was at the time and shows no real personal bias. I think that this is a very good novel and it teaches important lessons and students should read it in highschool.

At 11:52 PM, Blogger jackie said...

1.)Mark Twain uses a 13 year-old boy as the center of attention in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because he represents innocence and possibly the innocence of the slaves. He also would be more accepting to slaves because he was not yet introduced or embedded with the world of racism or discrimination so he would accept slaves more for the person, not being too judgmental. “Well, I warn’t long making him understand I warn’t dead. I was ever so glad to see Jim. I wart’t lonesome now. I told him I warn’t afraid of him telling the people where I was. I walked, along but he only set here and looked at me...” Pg. 41. This shows his innocence and his child-like mannerisms, like how accepting he was.

2.)The effect the dialect was very important in the book it made the book seem more real, the bad grammar and language gives a clear perspective of the time period and people may be able to understand the time period more. It does make it a little harder to read but it adds to the realism of the book and proves that he was meant for it to be written in that time period in the south. With saying like “Dah she is?” Pg. 85 and “Jim aint got no tin plates. They feed him in a pan.” Pg. 232. The dialect tend to take away from the artistic achievement because it seems more real, it adds artististicness in the sense the author was able to create a whole book with the correct dialect.

3.)The river seems to be a sense of freedom, since they are both trying to escape the chaotic world around them, though for different reasons. It symbolizes almost like a safe haven for them, although they soon realize that it also contains evil, which could mean that people cannot run away from their problems. So it may be sending a message to his readers that people should not take the easy road or “river” out. “I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said their wont no home like a raft, after all.” Pg. 113. Then it all went down hill from there this shows that they were trying to escape there problems.

4.)As the story progressed Jim and Huck became so close, almost like family members who cared for each other and would protect each other. The difference between the good lies and bad was, Huck only lied to protect his friends life not to intentionally hurt somebody. The Duke and dauphin intentionally hurt innocent people to prosper for themselves. They intentionally conned people to become rich where Huckleberry just wanted to save a life not used people. So I believe there is a big difference between a good lie and a bad lie, once protects people one hurts people. “I reckon we might double-team it together; what do you think?” Pg. 117. This shows they actually plotted out there lies and conspiracies.

5.)There was the Grangerfords family seems very caring and accepting yet they have a lot of pride and honor and they have to prove themselves and their lives to other people same with the Shepardsons family. They have to be well educated and elite otherwise it doesn’t really seem good enough. Then there was also Silas and Sally who seemed like a well-civilized family who needed everybody perfect as well. The family structure appears to be based on pride and honor they must be educated and well raised. I would say they constitute a family, maybe not exactly a conventional family but they loved and cared about each other. Society intervenes with the family when they capture Jim and want to send him back to his master.

6.)I do not believe that Tom was inexcusably mean because I feel that he was missing a chunk of his family and used Huck and Jim as sort of family members. His lack of stability also contributes to his use of Jim as a free man. “I’ve known him all his life, and so has Tom there. Old Mrs. Watson died two months ago, and she was ashamed she was ever going to sell him down the river, and said so; and she set him free in her will.” Pg. 277. I believe he was just a normal 13 year-old boy with no family and was lonely. It does comment on it shows the neglect of some families especially broken ones and how lonely some kids felt.

7.)Well Twain uses quotes to make it seem real but he uses a child and slave the most vulnerable people during that time period to make people feel sympathy especially when describing there emotions and family life, like when Huck’s father abused him and didn’t feed him for 3 days. These techniques were very effective to me they made me give sympathy for both of them.

8.)Morality definitely appears to come from the family in Huckleberry Finn, because both Huck and Tom had an awful family life and they did not have the best morals. Nobody seems to have strong morals throughout the book because those who did had slaves yet those who didn’t were trying to save slaves, so he seems to poke fun at the community’s morals. “The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out.” Pg. 3. This shows since Huck did not have strong families his aunt was trying to install these morals in him.

9.)He may have published it later because the Fugitive Slave laws during that period did not allow people to write against slavery so he may have gotten in to some trouble. He also may have found it to be effective because people will realize how wrong life was before. He could have done this because he was recapping on a time period there are various reasons as well.

10.)I feel this book is not racist because it’s capturing a time period, its not intentionally racists. I feel that most high school students are mature enough to handle the contents of this book without seeing it as racists or wrong. They should not look at it with a biased opinion they should see it in the contents of it’s time period and how this book would have been fairly advanced since its written about trying to save a slave.

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous SParsons said...

1. Mark Twain used a child as the center consciousness for his novel for many reasons. First of all, it created a sense of innocence in his novel, and affected the way that the reader viewed events. Having a child who learns about life, and how different people act helps to give his novel a theme of moral value. It gives the reader a chance to see American life in the mid 1800’s in a whole new light, not only in a literal sense, but also in a figurative sense. For example, when Huckleberry Finn sees men murdered for no good reason, he becomes physically upset, and reacts like an innocent child would to such a horrible thing. “…singing out, "Kill them, kill them!" It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree. I ain't a-going to tell all that happened -- it would make me sick again if I was to do that. I wished I hadn't ever come ashore that night to see such things. I ain't ever going to get shut of them -- lots of times I dream about them,” (p. 114). Twain is trying to say that this kind of reaction is the way that everybody should react toward murder; it shouldn’t become an accepted part of life in the new world. This was becoming more common in the Western states at this time because the new territories weren’t under complete control yet, and so the people self-governed themselves most of the time. Another time where he used the innocence of Huck, was when he discusses slavery. Huck undergoes an interior struggle over Jim when they have been sailing for a while. He has always been told that black men were inferior and belonged to people as property. When Huck became friends with Jim, he began to question this idea. This shows how as he was growing up, his views began to change, and that if people can separate yourself from the common opinion, they will be better off in life.

2. Mark Twain uses a few different dialects throughout the novel, including: a dialect for slaves, the sloppy English of Hick Fin and the other country folk in the novel. His use of these dialects doesn’t make his novel any less of a work of art; in fact, I think that it makes the story seem more real. He tried to give readers a realistic picture of how common people actually spoke in America during this time period. The drastic changes in dialogue between characters based on their education and race, constantly reminds you throughout the novel about the difference between Jim and Huck; that one is a slave and the other is a white boy. “Nuffn never come of it. I couldn' manage to k'leck dat money no way; en Balum he couldn'. I ain' gwyne to len' no mo' money 'dout I see de security. Boun' to git yo' money back a hund'd times, de preacher says! Ef I could git de ten cents back, I'd call it squah, en be glad er de chanst. ‘Well, it's all right anyway, Jim, long as you're going to be rich again some time or other.’‘Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn' want no mo'." (p.47) Here, not only is the language so completely different, it even shows the way slaves were thought of during this time.

3. The use of the river in the novel represents freedom and independence. No matter what bad luck they manage to run into while they are on land, they always find a way back to their beloved raft. When they are on the raft, they are best friends. While they are on the raft, Huck and Jim forget about the restrictions that society puts on the relationships between black and white men. Nobody can tell them what to do, and they don’t have to be somebody that they are not. For Huck, it is an escape from the hard life he has always lived. For Jim, the river symbolizes freedom from the bondage and oppression he has lived under his entire life. “Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time. Yonder was… It's lovely to live on a raft,” (p. 118). With this, Huck describes the wonderful carefree life he and Jim are able to enjoy while living on a constantly moving river.

4. While reading Huckleberry Fin, I noticed that the characters were constantly lying. The good kind of lie in the story was the kind where Huck lied to save Jim from being hunted and taken back to slavery. “Well, there's five niggers run off to-night up yonder, above the head of the bend. Is your man white or black? ‘I didn't answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn't come. I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but I warn't man enough -- hadn't the spunk of a rabbit. I see I was weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and says: ‘He's white,” (p. 89) The bad lies, are the horrible cons that the “kind” and “duke” tell to fool innocent people out of their money. “In other bills he had a lot of other names and done other wonderful things like finding water and gold with a “divining-rod,” “dissipating witch spells,” and so on,” (p. 128) The lies in this story represent the moral growth that Huck undergoes as the novel progresses. He begins to realize that there are good lies and bad lies. They are determined by their purposes and outcomes.

5. There are several families in Huck Fin. First, Huck lives with the widow and her sister. This was a fairly good home for him because he had a family that cared about his well-being and his future. His second home in the novel was with his drunk father. This was his worst home because his father beat him and only used him for his own purposes. The next model for a family was his relationship with Jim. I do think that their relationship constitutes as a family because they cared for each other, supported and trusted each other, and spent a lot of time together. I don’t think that Huck and Tom constitute as a whole family. I do think that they were brothers to each other, but a family needs to have an older figure to stand as a solid guide that can teach and support the younger children. The next model was the Grangerford family. They were deceiving because at first, they seemed like the picture perfect family with a nice home and loving family members. Later though, a stupid feud ends up destroying the entire family in a horrible violent way, showing that while a family may look happy, underlying issues can still ruin it. Society intervenes in the family when it comes to the laws and ideals of family life. In the novel, the perfect family would include a loving mother and father with lots of children around willing to help their parents all the time. The law intervenes with laws that don’t always mean the best thing for the child. For instance, in the book when Huck’s father comes back, he wins custody of him even though he is a drunk who obviously won’t care for him. “…said he'd druther not take a child away from its father. So Judge Thatcher and the widow had to quit on the business.” (p. 21).

6. I think that Tom Sawyer’s personality had a lot to do with his actions regarding Jim. Huck Finn shared the same sort of carelessness earlier in the novel when he fools Jim into thinking that he dreamed the whole storm. “I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way,” (p. 86). When he learns how much it hurt Jim to trick him so, he learned that lying and tricking for pleasure was a dangerous game. Tom hadn’t yet learned this lesson. I don’t think that he really thought about his actions regarding Jim, and all of the trouble he had put him through. Jim could have been killed, or sold into slavery again, when he was already free. I think that this kind of “joke” was a terrible one that was very cruel, but the fact that Tom was still a boy who didn’t think of the consequences of his actions helps explain what he did.
7. The techniques that Mark Twain used to create empathy for his characters was by having the characters explain their opinions and feelings themselves throughout the novel. In Jim’s case, his ignorance regarding his own existence is enough to create empathy for him and all of the other slaves. This was displayed when Jim exclaims how proud he was of being worth 800 dollars. “Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn' want no mo, '” (p.47). After this, I felt total pity for Jim, and anger at the whole slave system. Jim should not have been proud to be worth ANY amount of money because human beings aren’t supposed to be priced; no matter what your race or social status is. This technique of the author’s not only created empathy for Jim, it also brought attention to the evils of slavery and sparked thinking in the reader.
8. All throughout the novel, Huck explores different aspects of morality. He remembers the values that his father taught him, as well as the religious morals that the widow told him to always live by. Huck’s family life had never been strong and sturdy, so moral values were not found in that. While all of these different sources threw morals at Huck, he never was able to find them satisfying to him or his life. He only began to sort out his moral values after he ran away onto the river with Jim. Here through experiences, he was able to work out his own set of moral values. For example, while he was out on the river, he was able to make up his own mind about slavery when he became close to Jim. Although he had been taught his entire life, that black men belonged in bondage, his relationship with Jim was able to trample all over those thoughts and make him realize that those people were wrong. “Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s'pose you'd a done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than what you do now? No, says I, I'd feel bad -- I'd feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what's the use you learning to do right when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?” (p. 91). In the book, Mark Twain seems to mock the religious kind of morals the most. When Huck Finn learns about bible verses and the morals he is supposed to live by according to the bible, he always mocks it. He thinks that he would rather be in hell than learn anymore about it in his bible studies. He even says that the great Kings of the bible, such as King Solomon, were stupid and didn’t really know anything.
9. Mark Twain might have chosen to write a book during this time period with slaves, even though the Civil War was over for a couple of reasons. First of all, just because the Civil War was over, did not mean that racism was anywhere near gone. In most cases, black people were treated with the same amount of respect they were given as slaves twenty years before. The little hints throughout this novel about the evils of slavery could have been ways of telling people that racism was evil and that the United States was still acting like they were living in a United States from decades earlier. He also was trying to say that black men weren’t inferior to white men through Jim. As Huck begins to become closer to Jim, he has a much harder time of thinking of him as a person who wasn’t free. As the barriers between them began to break down, and a friendship formed, he couldn’t see anything that really separated them like everyone said it did. In this, Twain was trying to show people that racial equality was necessary in order for the nation and its people to advance and to cease being filled with such hatred and racism.
10. I do not think that this book is a racist book at all. Mark Twain was taking United States History to try and convey a message to the still fragile nation. He was not trying to be racist in his book. He wrote the opinions and thoughts of the characters as if they were people that were living during that time period in the United States. Jim’s character would have thought that way, and spoken that way because he was an uneducated slave. Mark Twain was trying to be historically accurate with his writing, not trying to insult anyone or fuel racism. Almost all Americans are ashamed of the fact that slavery existed so long in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it never happened. It also means that it is important for students to read about it in high school to show the kind of hatred that was present in our nation not even 200 years ago. Discussing slavery and racism helps to stop the ignorance that causes that kind of hatred.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous tschow said...

1. Huck Finn is a thirteen-year-old boy. Why does Twain use a child as the center of consciousness in this book? Mark Twain uses a child as the center of consciousness because a child is less likely to know how society works and is less likely to go into major details about everything. Children’s brain are less complex than adults because they have not matured yet. Huck Finn is not only a young, he is uneducated.Therefore, he knows less than the average boy his age. Most children go to school and are taught what is civilized and proper. Mark Twain cleverly sets up the book this way in order to be able to write more about the oppression of blacks without people judging him on his views; his words and thoughts are being spoken by a young, poor, thirteen-year-old boy from the mid 1900s.

2. Discuss Twain’s use of dialects in the novel. What effect does this usage have on the reader? Does it make the novel less of an artistic achievement? There are a few different dialects in the novel. First, there is Huck Finn’s dialect; unintelligent, boring, simple, and superstitious: “Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring, and then the genies come tearing in, with the thunder and lightning a-ripping around and the smoke a-rolling, and everything they're told to do they up and do it. They don't think nothing of pulling a shot-tower up by the roots, and belting a Sunday-school superintendent over the head with it -- or any other man." Second, there is Tom Sawyer’s dialect; more intelligent, questioning, curious, and confident: “Shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, Huck Finn. You don't seem to know anything, somehow -- perfect saphead.” Last, there is Jim’s dialect; he is even less educated than Huck because he is a slave: “Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I hears it agin."

3. Discuss the use of the river as a symbol in the novel. The river is a symbol in the novel. To both Jim and Huck the river symbolizes freedom and the way to a new life; a life without the people they have been around for many years who know their stories and know their souls inside and out. It symbolizes the way out of town, and yet it symbolizes a way to town as well; it depends on which way they want to take it. Going or coming, it is a long journey, sometimes peaceful and sometimes stressful; one moment full of adventure and daring action, the next nothing but lounging and thinking of good times past.

4. Lying occurs frequently in this novel. Curiously, some lies, like those Huck tells to save Jim, seem to be “good” lies, while others, like the cons of the duke and the dauphin, seem to be “bad.” What is the difference? Are both “wrong”? Why does so much lying go on in Huckleberry Finn? I think the difference between a “good” lie and a “bad” lie is that a “good” lie means lying for someone else’s sake, whereas a “bad” lie means lying for your own mischievous intentions. I would say that mostly both are wrong, but sometimes a “good” lie is needed in trying times. I think so much lying goes on in Huckleberry Finn because the author is trying to relate such lies to those that appeared in the lives of U.S. and its citizens during World War I. The government lied to the people, countries lied to each other, and so on.

5. Describe some of the models for families that appear in the novel. What is the importance of family structures? What is their place in society? Do Huck and Jim constitute a family? What about Huck and Tom? When does society intervene in the family? Some of the families in the book are the widow’s, the Grangerfords, Tom Sawyer’s gang, the Mary Jane’s sisters, the kind and duke, and Jim.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger suhaib abdul-jabbar said...

1. Twain uses a child, Huck, as the center of consciousness in the book since a child is still very vulnerable to the surrounding environment. Both Huck and Jim are attacked constantly by grown people. Their views on what's right or what's wrong are different to that of society rules or morals. Their knowledge level is different to that of the adult in their society. This is mainly because a child bases his or her decisions on experience and conscience.
2. His use of dialects in the novel make the story seems more real. The novel is written using simple and slang literature. This affects the performance of the novel. Huck speaks in a rough and uneducated manner. Jim speaks in a similar fashion to that of Huck. Furthermore, this shows that it is the society and wealth that determines the opportunity level one has in the society, and not the illiteracy of Jim, or even Huck.
3. In the beginning of the novel, the Mississippi River symbolizes freedom, and some peace. Jim and Huck are always on the river bouncing from one place to the next, making experiences different. It’s kind of like going to your first day of school, and then leaving the second day and enrolling in another school when it starts. You then leave the 2nd day and do this procedure again and again. The raft floating on the river represents the peaceful and "away-from-it-all" feeling. Later in the novel, however, the Mississippi River soon led Huck and Jim to face dangers, including thieves. The river later carried Huck and Jim off to New Orleans. It seems as if escape from humanity is inevitable in the novel.
4. The "good" lies told in the story are used are used with good intentions, like the ones Huck tells in order to cover up for Jim, unlike the "bad" lies. Only the bad lies are truly wrong. There is a lot of lying in Huckleberry Fin in order to display how youth were in the diverse society at the time. As well, it is mostly the American youth in the society who lie.
5. Some models for families that show up in the novel are Jim and Huck, Tom Sawyer’s gang, and the Phelps, who sheltered Huck. These families showed love and care for Huck, and treated him as if he was their own son. There were also those Huck just kept company with sometimes. However, Huck had no real family. Huck and Jim had grown a relationship in the novel. Family structure holds the members of the family together, and it usually affects how a member turns out. Huck and Jim did constitute a family in the novel. However, as the novel progressed Huck and Jim's relationship changed. Huck was treating Jim in a negative manner. Society involves into Huck and Jim's family relationship when Jim gets detained with an effort to send him into slavery. (This follows the culture of societies at the time.)
6. Tom is not being a normal thirteen-year-old boy according to the society we are living in right now, which gives him no excuse for being cruel. However, in the society at the time, Tom was just being a regular 13 year old boy, according to the life style he was living in. This shows how the society still held into consideration that a black man was black, regardless of whether he was free or not. This displays that there is still some sort of racism present in the society.
7. Twain does use some techniques in order to bring sympathy upon his characters, especially Jim and Huck. In the novel, Twain shows that Jim is being oppressed because he is black. Even Huck starts treating him like an inferior being, late in the novel. The inequality and unfairness of whites toward Jim because of his race does create sympathy towards him. Huck, on the other hand, is resented by some. His father treated him in an unfair manner, and this led Huck to run away from home. He faces hard times loneliness, and the concept that "everyone is becoming a hater and turning against him." This creates sympathy for Huck, the main character.
8. The moral values come from the families that are courteous to Huck, Huck's protection of Jim, and Jim as a person himself. The Church is also a source of morality. It feeds off of righteousness. In Twain’s eyes, experiences prevail over the other potential sources. The experiences are kept real. Morality comes from lessons learned. And nothing can be learned if it was not taught. In order to teach morality, one must first live through the roots of its themes. The potential source that Twain mocks is the community. He disapproves of the community since it has no true morals. For example, equality and opportunities aren't present for everybody, only the whites. Jim was not treated like an equal in the novel. Huck refers to Jim: "I knowed he was white inside..." They were friends, yet it wasn't normal to have whites treating blacks like friends in the society. Huck admits that Jim “had an uncommon level head, for a nigger.” As well, Huck referring to Jim as a nigger shows that race did matter in their society.
9. Twain decided to set the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery, despite the fact that he published it two decades after the end of the Civil War for a logical reason. He wanted to compare the present with how things used to be to the reader. This way, he shows us how people and the society were back in the days, and how slaves had felt. After the Civil War, people would be able to understand the injustice in slavery and the treating of Blacks as they were prior to it.
10. I do not believe that this book is a racist one. Twain was just telling it as it was back then. The story displays life prior to the Civil War, and gives the reader an idea of a bit of American history. I do believe students should be able to read it in high school. There is no reason this book should be offensive in any way to anyone, (except, maybe, if that person is a white supremacist or in the K.K.K., since the novel does feel sympathy for Blacks).

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Ryan W. said...

1. Huck Finn, as a child, is used as the center of consciousness because he gives the effect that he has not been changed or forms his opinions based on the society around him. In addition, it also gives a sense of truth to what he says, making the story take a sort of factual air. Both of these effects help to give the reader the sense of american change which Twain is trying to convey.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger floresj said...

1) The reason why Twain uses a thirteen year old boy as the center of consciousness is because a young boy can experience many things that adults cannot. Teenagers tend to learn from their mistakes, and tend to mature as they experience such things. Finn experiences a lot through his ordeal, and we see first hand how a society can treat a young thirteen year old boy through the usage of a thirteen year old boy as the center of consciousness.

2) The river basically symbolizes freedom. The river is what eventually leads them towards freedom. “We dasn’t stop again at any town for days and days; kept right along down the river.” (pg.224) As they go through there voyage, they rely on the river as a source of help. Then, the river symbolizes trouble for them. As they go through their voyages, it effects one bad situation after the other.

3) The dialect that Twain uses in the novel is not that good. The dialect between the black people and the white people is completely different. Since the dialect is confusing, the reader is somewhat confused about what is being said. The words that a white person says in the novel is different from what a typical black male would say. The novel is less than an artistic piece because it is hard to understand.

4) The difference between the lies is that the lies that Huck tells Jim are to help him out in a way, or just to poke some fun on him. The lies that he gives the duke are to deceive people. Even though there are different kinds of lies, they are both bad. There is no such thing as a good lie. A lot of lying occurs because it is vital since Jim and Huck are on the run. Even though the lies were bad, they were good in a way that it secured Huck’s identity.

5) There were many families that are present in the novel. Many of the families accepted Huck as one of their own. There were many families that were quite individualistic. The importance of family structure is big because Huck did not have a proper family, and that is why he left the family. Society is all about families, because they set the standards. Huck and Jim do constitute a family because they cared for each other. Society somewhat intervenes into the “family” because they try to separate Jim and Huck.

6) Tom is not cruel to Jim in any way. He just likes to play around with Jim just like any ordinary thirteen year old boy. He just wants to have fun. Tom’s behavior somewhat comments on society by showing us how he is. Since he is nice to Jim, one can determine that the way he was raised was going to constitute a beneficial lifestyle.

7) The techniques that Twain uses to create a sense of sympathy for his characters are things that a normal person can relate to. For example, he creates a sense of sympathy by creating a sense of loneliness, and love for each other(family). The techniques work because Jim is a slave, and he wants to reconcile with his family. Twain also creates sympathy by describing how Finn’s father is. He is a drunk, and Twain
describes him in a way that the reader knows that the father is an alcoholic. Sympathy is created by the running away of Huck.

8) The characters in the novel have somewhat of a moral, but it is not good. Moral values are established by families, and by the church. The source that Twain privileges over is church because he does not really criticize it that much. He mocks the community because it is corrupt in a social way due to their views on blacks.

9) He might have decided to set the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery because he wanted to show the public treated slaves. He set his point of view, and wanted the public to view slavery this way.

10) In my own words, this is kind of a racist book. The book constantly repeats the word nigger, and is a very stereotypical word. Even though that is how they referred to African Americans at the time, I still think it is a racist book. Even though it is a racist book, I think that this book should be read at school. It is a god book, and it teaches you how a society can be cruel to certain people.

At 12:42 AM, Blogger GCapistran said...

1.) The use of a thirteen-year-old boy as the center of conciousness is something quite delibratley done becuase it adds to the sincerity of the messege and story. That the main character has not yet reached the age where he is set in his ways and yet is comming to an age where he must make a decisions about how he will live his life. Twain tries to use this to show that an uninfluenced mind will logicaly come to a conclusion against slavery and its wrongs.

2.) The use of dialect in the novel serve's to both make it seem more authentic and regular to the people and possibly to demonstrate that there is nearly no difference between people of light skin and those of dark and that the only boundries are between those that are rich and educated and those that are poor, both black and white. I don't belive it makes the novel any less of an artistic acheivement but that it just makes it much more annoying to read and comprehend at times.

3.) The river is a symbolic representation of America. At first it is a place of freedom and refuge for Huck and Jim, and soon becomes a place of peace and quite. This peace and quite however would not last as both America and the river would steer into troublesome times. In the book it would be theives and bounty hunters, while in the real world it would be wars and disunity breaking out within the nation. After a while the trip seems to calm down, possible representing one of the compromises of the time, but this is short lived as the river seems to lead them into one of the most dangerous patches yet. This final landing is most probably comparable to the southern succesions and following civil war.

4.) From a moral point of view, lying is "wrong" no mater the circumstances becuase it is decietful and unhonest. Logicaly though, lying is necesary in some cases becuase quite frankly not everyone cares about what is right and what is wrong. An example of this being Huck trying to save Jim with lies, had he told the truth, Jim most certainly would have been taken away and probably punished, which would have been a "wrong" and unjust event. Even so, those who would capture him would not care whether or not this was wrong and would do so anyway. Therefore the only counter to this is to "fight fire with fire" by preforming a lesser wrong in order to accomplish a greater good, though lying for personal gain is quite "bad".

5.)A few of the family modles presented in the novel were that of a temporary families such as Tom Sawyer’s gang , traditional families, such as the Grangerfords and the Phelps who take Huck in and treat him as their own, and a final family of nonrelation that is built on trust, mutual respect, and the act of looking out for one another, this being shown between Tom and Jim. Their role in society being quite large in that all people belonged to some type of family or another. While the Huck and Jim relationship between Huck and Jim can be considered one of a family, the oen between Huck and Tom is not as strong, this being becuase It seems Huck and Tom are more bestfriends rather than a close and connected family.

6.) The fact taht Tom did indeed know that Jim was a free man from the start seems to attribute a certain cruelness to him that is considered inexcuseable by many. If a child comits murder in what they think is a game, this makes them no less guilty. It does show, however, that the child has been raised with weak morals and has not been taught a proper sense of right and wrong. However, It seems that Tom sawyer was not alone in getting carried away. The American nation would also do something simmilar to this in their constant expansions in which they became obssesed with expanding the nation through ideas such as Manifest Destiny and the likes.

7.) In the case of Jim, Twain tries to make the reader sympathetic towards the runaway slave by constatly displaying him in a state of dispair and by placing him in many pitiful sitations. he tries to connect the reader to the character by making them feel completley sorry for what it is that happens to them and how just plain bad their luck is in the obtaining of such misfourtunes, these techniques being highly effective.

8.)Morality itself isn't mentioned directly in this novel but it seems to be held in high esteem the way that immoral actions are mocked and pointed out. Most of the moral values from this novel come form probably one of the most soloid there is, once's self, though the church may surpass or equal it. others values, such as those of the community are mocked and and noted disaproovingly.

9.)The reasoning for the setting was most probably so that a slave could be used in the first place and so taht Huck could be devolop his own oppinions during a time when the subject was its harshest and when so many injustices were blatantly being done, allowing him to devlop in such a way that he gould evade these evils.

10.) This book is most probably not a racist book for if it was the ending would have almost certainly ended with the capture of Jim and the sending of him back into slavery.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger mcclanahant33 said...

Twain uses a child as the center of consciousness to give the novel an acceptable dynamic character; one that has a taste of what is considered moral and appropriate behavior in society, but whose beliefs aren’t completely set in stone. A child’s mind, morals, and ethics are still malleable, whereas Twain would have to work extremely hard to depict a believable adult who was willing to change their views on such a touchy subject as was racial equality and slavery.

Twain was very much a realist, in a time when a majority of the citizens of the United States were becoming immersed in romanticism. He uses the rough dialects of those like Huck and Jim, who have no true formal education and have come from the lower classes of society, to give the book a very real feel. However, it can be difficult to read, because his translations of their words was basically done phonetically, and needed to be said aloud to get the true effect. The dialects of the educated, such as the judges and Tom, who is very much a romanticist and loves fanciful adventure, are much more punctual and are easier to read, as they are written much more in citation form instead of casual speak.

3. The river is used as a vessel of change and progression. To Jim and Huck, the river is safety; it is where they escaped to, and continues to throughout the novel to avoid troubles found onshore. It also represents life, in which Huck matures greatly. The pair’s situation on the river also displays how far along Huck is in his maturing. The predicaments he finds himself in while navigating the river and maneuvering on shore get progressively more difficult to find the true moral solution, coinciding with Huck’s development of his personal morals.

The difference between the two “kinds” of lies is the morals behind them. Many of the lies that Huck tells are done to save or protect Jim; he could not, morally, allow Jim to be hurt or captured and returned to slavery. He wasn’t hurting anyone with his conjectures, but rather letting someone else live. On the other hand, the fibs of those like the Duke and Dauphin are morally wrong, as they are done to hurt others and make a profit. That’s the main thing behind being a “con artist” – they were good at gaining people’s trust by lying about who they really were, and once those people opened up something to them, they would take it and never be seen again. Their lies were completely for economic betterment, with nothing thought about the lives of the people they conned.

We see many different family structures in the novel Huck Finn, ranging from close and proper (Huck’s life with the widow), to deranged and awful (Huck with his father), to the educated but chaotic lives of the quarreling families. These different family structure often dictate the type of individual produced from these relationships. From Huck’s shared time with the widow and his father, we get a character who knows the morals of society (while he doesn’t understand them), but it still very rough around the edges, as seen in his speech. On the contrary, we have characters like Buck, who seem to be breaking away from his family, but then gets sucked back in and dies for it. In society, the family and the household was where moral, ethics, and behavior were to be taught. Because Huck did receive this training but seemed to doubt its credence, we see his character and morals change as he encounters new situations. Huck and Jim constitute more of a brotherhood than a true family. They both trust each other with their lives and depend on the other for survival. Huck and Tom also aren’t really a family. Huck just follows Tom and gets sucked into all his irrational, fantastical stories and then can’t seem to get himself out. Society will try and intervene in family if they believe that someone’s in that family may threaten their lifestyle, and also if they truly feel that something has to be done to “save” someone in a bad situation.

Tom is not inexcusable cruel. His fantastical adventures come from his very romanticist views on life and his misuse of them in daily life. He doesn’t realize the pain that he can cause others and only cares about a great adventure like he reads in the romantic novels that he is so fond of. Twain uses the character of Tom, from the perspective of Huck, to show people just how ridiculous he felt the romanticism movement was, and that people live in a real world with real dangers, not in some storybook land where everything works out in the end and the protagonists are heroes who do great deed in the most extravagant ways possible.

Twain creates sympathy for his characters by putting their livelihoods in the hands of people of still questionable character (such as Huck). Jim is often at the disposal of Huck’s actions, which creates an almost helpless sense about him, thus creating sympathy. He is very effective in his techniques of creating sympathy, as the reader is often worried that Huck might make a decision that would compromise Jim’s safety.

In the novel, moral values come from what is acceptable in the community, family, and what the church dictates. However, Twain represents the most successful and “right” morals coming from Huck’s experiences on the river. He does this through Huck’s debating over whether to do something, by making him debate over what his society would want him to do, and what his gut feeling to do is. Twain disproves the development of one’s morals through society because he feels that that is dictatorial, and leaves no room for personal interpretation. Also, because a communities moral may have come from a group of individuals that lived there long before, their views may be seriously outdated and not set for the modern day’s situations and problems.

Twain decided to set the novel before the abolition of slavery to give the readers a sense that while the slaves are free from bondage, they are not free from an extremely racist society. He uses the character of Jim, a man who is very true and real, to comment on how most black men were better mannered and nicer that most of the white men at the time, and that there was no reason to exclude and discriminate against them in society. When the readers looked at their society after the war, they would realized that not much has changed, and would try to change it more towards more racial equality.

This is not a racist book, because it is showing real life and not truly exaggerating anything too out of proportion. Twain was a realist and wanted people to feel just how wrong their views were against blacks. Students should read it in high school, because if they interpret and get everything out of it that there is to get out of it, they will grow a lot and maybe learn to think about how their actions may hurt others and that sometimes we need to step back and look at society, in order to find flaws and fix them (which we need to do today).

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous CStrawn said...

1. Twain uses a child in his novel because children are still learning things. He is more naïve and doesn’t know everything yet. He is innocent toword many topics. He doesn’t have strong opinions about things going on in his community and therefore does not have a hateful judgment against things.
2. They way the novel is written it is as if Huck Finn is telling it. “You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly -- Tom's Aunt Polly, she is -- and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.” He uses the words and speech that people of that time do. It puts you into the time period better then if it had been written normally. If anything, I believe that it makes it more artistic. It gives the reader an insight into Huck Finn’s world.
3. The river symbolizes Huck Finn growing up and matureing. As he travels down the river he learns many things and grows as a person. This is the same for Jim. It could also symbolizes freedom. Jim is escapeing from a life a slavery and Huck is escapeing from his father.
4. I think both types are lying are wrong. However when Huck lies its more accepted because he is helping someone. Also, because he is a child and its more accepted when you’re a child. The difference between the two is that one is a lie to help someone and the other is hurting someone.
5. In the beginning of the novel you see Huck living with the widow and that family. For the most part the adults in that family want whats best for Huck. Huck is rebelious at first but they live together well. Then Huck is living with his father. His father takes advantage of Huck and tries to steal from him. Some other ‘families’ would be, Huck and his friends, and Huck and Jim. I think Huck and Jim are a family. However I don’t think that just Tom and Huck are. Theres no responsible adult that can guild then. Tom and Huck are just friends.
6. I don’t think Tom is cruel, but rather just being a teenager. I don’t think it refelects on the society as a whole, but perhaps on a group of people during the time.
7. During the novel Jim often tells stories of being taken advantage of. He talks about losing money. "Why, live stock -- cattle, you know. I put ten dollars in a cow. But I ain' gwyne to resk no mo' money in stock. De cow up 'n' died on my han's." "So you lost the ten dollars." This makes you sympathetic toward Jim. You feel sorry about his situation and his bad luck.
8. Though there are lots of lies in the novel, the characters feel bad about things and that’s the morality in the novel. Learning from there mistakes and things. This definatly doesn’t come from the community which is not very respectable. I think He gets this from family. Such as the family of Huck and Jim.
9. I think he writes it before the abolishion of slavery to make the relatinship of Jim and Huck more special. Other wise Huck wouldn’t have had to protect Jim as much because he would have been free. They probably wouldn’t have gotten as close.
10. I don’t think this is a racist book. I think its just capturing the way of life of the time that the novel was written about. The country was very racist toward Black people. The book is just trying to show how life was.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Z Kenneth said...

1. Twain uses Huck Finn, a child, as the center of consciousness in The Adventures of Huckberry Finn because children have a simple and concise view of the world. This is shown by Huck’s lack of racism towards Jim. His lack of a father figure left him naïve and innocent; therefore, Twain uses Huck as the center of consciousness for the book.

2. Twain’s use of the different dialects shows the reader the backgrounds of the people. Jim’s pattern of speech, which includes very fractured and “bad” English, shows the reader he had not been educated in his youth. In my opinion, it does not make the novel any less of an artistic achievement.

3. The river symbolizes Jim’s road to freedom and Huck’s maturation into manhood. While Huck is continuously attempting to set Jim free from slavery, Jim acted as the father figure for Huck’s quest into becoming a man.

4. The “good” lies said by Huck are different than those “bad” lies told by the cons of the Duke and the Dauphin in that Huck’s lies are meant for a “good” purpose while the “bad” told the cons of the Duke and the Dauphin are meant for personal gain. In my opinion, Huck’s lies are not wrong while the Duke’s and the Dauphin’s lies are wrong. So much lying occurs in the novel because lying is part of life and the story reflects that.

5. The importance of family structures is that it is better for people emotionally and psychologically. Society’s norm is to be a part of a family. Huck and Jim to constitute a family because Jim is Huck’s father figure, and that definitely constitutes a family. Huck and Tom, however, do not constitute a family because they are peers and are without a fatherly or motherly figure.

6. Tom is not inexcusably cruel because he wanted to aid Huck into becoming more of a man. He seemed to be a regular thirteen-year-old boy. Tom’s behavior comments on society in some larger way.

7. Twain uses many techniques to create sympathy for his characters. In Jim’s case, Twain creates Jim as a fugitive black slave with no education and no friends, except for Huck, who could turn Jim in at any moment. The reader can see that Jim is completely under Huck’s control.

8. The place of morality in Huckleberry Finn lies in the church and the family. One’s own experiences also conjure morality in a person. Twain mocks the community in that he describes a community as a bunch of cowards who follow what one person says and does.

9. Twain set his novel in a time before the abolition of slavery two decades after the end of the Civil War in order to show his position on slavery without being heavily disliked by people who read it and disagreed with his position.

10. This book is in no way a racist book in that it merely shows the way of life for people before the aboltion of slaves. Students should read this book in high school because it is not only a great piece of literature but it shows the way of life for people before the aboltion of slaves.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger Lawrence said...

1. Twain uses a child as the center of consciousness in this novel as a means of representation of America. He is trying to state that America is a young nation and is still capable of being molded. While the child is making mistakes and is slightly misguided in his approach to life it is possible for him to make it on the right track and change his attitude.

2. The dialects inserted into the novel make the novel more realistic because it fits the characters and time, making the characters seem more human and life like, making it easier to relate. “That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary.”

3. the river in the story is a representation of life and Huck’s approach to life, he floats through on his own terms doing his own thing and will go wherever the current takes him. This is seen through his acceptance of his changing family status in the beginning of the novel whether it be with the widow or with his abusive father.

4. Huck is torn between two truths: he can either be true to his friend and what his heart says to do or do what society wants him to do. In Jim’s favor, Huck chooses to be true to his friend, the difference is that Huck is lying because there is a flaw in society. Whereas the Duke and Dolphin lie because of the flaw in their character.

5. Huck does not like the standard family structure. He likes to be on his own and not have any rules or guidelines. Although he doesn’t like structure he does eventually find some sort of family structure with Jim and with Tom. Throughout the novel Jim becomes the only true father figure that Huck has ever encountered. This family unit is based on the conditions of the river and ends when it does, in the end Jim does get freed, society isn't ready for people to be so different and accepting of each other as a whole it is still scared of the unknown. For example when the boys get Jim out of the shed and help him escape and then eventually return because of Tom's wound, the town's people immediately scorn Jim for being with the boys. After they get the whole story they treat him like a hero so in a way there is a place for their family bond and union in society, which is the point Twain was trying to make.

6. When Tom reveals that Jim was a free man the whole time, the reader is stunned at first but when it is realized that he is an imaginative thirteen year old boy, the reader comes to understand why it was not revealed earlier. Tom simply wanted a grand adventure that he had tried so hard to create with his imagination and failed. When the chance arose the naive youngster put everyone's life at stake to fulfill a sense of adventure, comparing the needless danger people were being put through during this time in history concerning social issues such as race.

7. Twain makes Jim seem simple and dumb to make him seem like a pure and innocent person, these techniques work wonderfully because in the end the reader comes out feeling like justice has prevailed when Jim is freed. This tactic arises the question of racism in the novel. “Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but they wouldn't touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it. "/images/modeng/public/Twa2Huc/twahuc11.jpg" was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches.” Twain uses this as an analytical tactic showing the flaw in society by repeating to them the misconceptions and prejudices they portray.

8. Huck's morals are tested when he is forced to decide between lying about Jim and giving in to the laws of society as well as the preconceived notions that the laws are sparked from. Huck's morals come from the church and his experiences more than anything else. Twain mocks societies fake morals because they only protect the majority from judgment from their own consciences and from their God and neighbors. Again showing society exactly what they believe repeated back to them so it can be digested and the problems can be processed.

9. Twain set the novel before the Civil War, even though it was published after the Civil War to make a very bold comparison. That is that the war had not changed the social conditions of the time period concerning race and the overall attitude of the nation. By placing the book before the Civil War he is able to compare views and allude to many things because of the state of the nation pre-civil war. If he were to place the novel after the Civil War the misconstrued notion that attitudes had changed might take affect or at least the same meaning would not have been carried through with the comparing of the periods.

10. I do not believe that this novel is racist. I do however believe that this novel is analytical in its approach to racism. This is where the controversy could come in, the novel does take racial approaches and stereotypes, I believe that this is simply a tactic used by Twain in order to get his message across about the predicament and mindset the people of America were experiencing. As for the relevancy in high school, I believe absolutely this should be read in high school, if nothing else as a last ditch effort to conquer the continuing racism and prejudices that plague society even today. Even if it was derived in racism, at least that way some of the faults could be realized.

At 11:49 PM, Blogger jayehellmich said...

1.Since Huck is a boy, he doesn't have strong opinions or views on things. This reminds the reader of innocence and makes the novel more believable.

2.Twain uses differnet dialects to show the difference in class and location of the characters in the novel. It was a little hard to understand at times, but it makes Twain an artistic genius to be able to depict the differnt uses of language. He really knew the people who he was writting about.

3. The river symbolizes freedom. Huck is free when he is on the river. Jim and Huck escape civilization and live on the river. They follow the current and Jim progresses toward becoming a free man. They are also free to respect eachother as humanbeings. The river gives them a friendship and creates a speacial bond between thme because they work together to escape. It's also an escape route because of the close encounters they face while on the river.

4. Huck tells many lies to save Jim from being caught. The difference between the "good" lies and the "bad" lies is that the good lies are to help save Jim's life while the bad lies are when they con people and take their money. Theres a difference between Huck lying to a man hunting down Jim, and when he lies to people to get them to give him money. He's stealing and that's not good. The subject matter of the novel is very sensitive, man vs. man (with slavery,) so there is so much lying goes on. Also since Huck is young and he doesn't exactly know a lot better, he lies too much.

5. There are many different models of families in the novel. One of them is Huck and Pap. They have a weird relationship because Pap is so mean and abusive to Huck. Another model is when Huck is living with the widow. They aren't blood related but they were a family for a little while. She took care of him and gave him food and shelter, as well as sent him to school and tired to teach him good morals. Another example is the Phelps, who are more traditional with the husband and wife. Families are important because they are people that you spend your life with. They are people that care about you and love you. They also share the same goals and values. They live together in society and make decisions as a whole. Huck and Jim could constitute a family. Jim and Huck live together and they are both trying to find freedom. Huck and Tom are more of just best friends. They have good times together, but they wouldnt be considered family. Society intervens in the family when parents need help providing for the family or when things go wrong.

6. Tom is just being Tom! It's his personality to want to have adventure and be difficult. He knew Jim was free, but of course Tom is just a young boy and he likes to have fun so he didn't say anything about it. It doesn't make him cruel. However, his behavior does comment on society because he is showing that everything in life is hard. Nothing is easy, it's all complicated and we just have to deal with it.

7. Jim is easily taken advantage of because he is such a good guy. They take advantage of him in the beginning by stealing his hat and making him superstitious. The only tim Huck really feels bad about taking advantage of Jim is when he lies to him about being with him the whole time when they got separated. Jim is always so nice to Huck and he's smart too and helps him out. The reader is sympathetic to Jim because everyone is after him and wants to capture him! He's a loveable character because he's a slave and nowadays people are so sympathetic toward them because the way they were treated was cruel. Twain puts Jim in a lot of situations where he is easily taken advantage of. He's at the mercy of everyone because he wants to become a free man. Twain is very successful in making the reader sympathetic.

8. Moral values in the novel come from what other people think, versus what Huck thinks. The morality for Huck is treating Jim like a human being, versus an object like the rest of society. Twain mocks the community by showing true humanity through the eyes of a child. He's basically saying that what adults in society think is wrong, and it's better to see through the eyes of a child.

9. At that time, no one had really spoken out for freedom and equal rights among men. This novel helped people realize the importance of freedom to all men. He published it after the Civil War because people already had an understanding of the hardships of slavery and the fight to abolish it.

10. A lot of people say this book is racist because of the use of the "n" word so frequently. I don't think it's racist at all because it is true to life and heart felt about a boy helping a slave to freedom. Twain didn't write this book to be racist. He was showing realisim. It's important for high school students to read because they are so sheltered and they need to expand their horizons. It causes some critical thought on the part of the reader so it is a great novel to read.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger lina said...

1. Mark Twain uses a child as the center of consciousness in his book because a child is still innocent from the cruelties that the world offers. As a child, the child has yet to think about the ideals that an adult has to dwell upon. Racial discrimination has not tainted the thoughts of a child therefore we can view the book in an unbiased way. Huck still knows about racism and shows us this when he goes to rescue Jim and doesn’t really care about what society has to say about that.

2. In the novel, Twain writes the dialogue differently to show us the difference between the education of a white person and a slave or child. It also shows us the perspective of a southern child during that time. The way it was written also shows the readers how a southern child thought and acted and it depicted the characteristics of the main character.

3. The river symbolizes the maturity and growth of the characters in the book. As they journey down the river, closer to Jim’s freedom and Huck starts to dwell upon the problems of racism and how society views racism. His options about certain people change and is ashamed of his friends actions.

4. Although lying is considered to be bad, there are shades of gray. For example, when Huck lies to save Jim, he lied not to look out for himself, but for the freedom of Jim. But bad lies are when people lie so they can save their own back or if by lying they would some how get the upper hand. Such as when Duke and Dauphin lie to inherit the family fortune. They did that so that they can get easy money, and therefore their morals for lying is bad. Huck was raised in a lying environment and had to lie in order to get by, but the cons lied just to get cheap thrills and easy money. The author may have added so much lying within the book to add more conflicts and journeys for the characters.

5. Some of the models for families that appear in the novel is the relationship between Huck and Jim. Along with them is Silas and Sally Phelps. Huck and Jim were in a family like relationship and helped each other whenever they had the chance. Silas and Sally were the actual traditional loving couple. They would take care of anyone who needed care, and in their case was Huck who had pretended to be Tom. It was important to show family structure because it supports the family and also provides discipline within the family. Family does not need blood relations but a close relationship between the members.

6. The fact that Tom is a thirteen year old boy excuses him from certain things because he’s in a stage where he’s only thinking about the best for himself. He thinks that if he’s having fun, why should he stop just because someone might be getting hurt in the process. His behavior also shows how society doesn’t even learn from their mistakes since adults lie constantly as well as children do.

7. Twain creates a sympathetic environment for Jim by constantly putting his character in sad situations that is of course going to cause people to feel pity for him. A bad situation was when he lost a family member or was sent to jail by Dauphin. This technique that Twain uses is actually effective since the readers will feel pity for this man, but it can differ by the readers views about the character.

8. Huck’s moral values came from his experiences and his adventures. This is portrayed when Huck used to enjoy the petty tricks that Tom’s gang played, but later is ashamed about their actions. The communities morality is mocked by Twain since the community played as role in Dauhpin’s show.

9. Twain had the book in this certain era because if it wasn’t Jim wouldn’t have been viewed as a slave. Huck’s maturity and growth is shown during this time and would not have been the same if it hadn’t been in this time. Huck would have seen Jim without any racist prejudice because Jim wouldn’t have been a slave.

10. This isn’t a racist book because any racist would have been crazy to allow a black man to be set free after slavery at the end of this novel. It is a good novel and gives students a different view about society and racism but it would be more appreciated in college in my option.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Taylor Brown said...

1. Twain uses a child as the center of consciousness in this book because a child has not been influenced by society as much as an adult has. Huck has his morals and basic beliefs which correspond with society's but he is still young and is still learning about society and the role he plays in it. He is still trying to discover his true identity in the world and doesn‘t have a bias opinion yet.

2. Twain’s use of dialects in the novel show the differences between social classes in the novel. Huck’s language throughout the novel helped show that he was still just a child who has not finished developing and helped show the impact that school had on a person. While Jim, the uneducated slave, had horrible dialect which helped show the repercussions of being a slave. At times I found it hard to understand what he was really trying to say which added to the effect of the novel. The widow and other towns people they came across represented the average educated person who spoke reasonably well compared to Huck and Jim. It also helped with the artistic achievement of the novel by showing the differences between the social classes and the effects of an education.

3. The river is ultimately the route to freedom for Jim and Huck but it represents more of the maturation of Huck. At the beginning of the novel when Huck and Jim first set off down the river, Huck is still a young naive child searching for his place in society. As they make it further and further down the river Huck gains the experience needed to fully mature as a human being. He endures many hardships and learns from his own as well as other people’s mistakes which help him develop his own opinions about society and its flaws.

4. Lying occurs frequently in this novel and in different situations. There are “good” lies like the ones that Huck tells to help protect Jim and carry on with their adventure and “bad” lies like the ones the cons of the duke and the dauphin use to steal money from innocent people. Huck’s lies are acceptable to society because he is telling them for the good of another, he is trying to save an innocent persons life. While the lies that the cons use aren’t because they are used only for selfish reasons, their greedy and want more money. There are so many lies in the novel because Huck has to keep lying to protect himself and Jim from the evils of society.

5. There are two different types of models for families that appear in the novel. The first is the normal, traditional type of family like the Phelps, who are a husband and wife in a loving relationship and are willing to help others in need, like Huck. The other type of model is the one that Jim and Huck have, where they aren’t a real family but they try and protect and care for each other. The importance of family structures is shown throughout the novel because Huck starts off without a real family and feels he should escape because he has no real duty or ties to anyone but once he meets Jim all this changes. He starts to feel like he belongs somewhere and Jim becomes sort of his father figure that watches out for him and keeps him out of harms way. Society intervenes in the family when they capture Jim and want to send him back to his life as a slave.

6. Tom is just being a normal thirteen-year-old boy trying to have fun. He doesn’t yet contemplate the severity of his lies. Society is too blame for this because it is shown throughout the novel that everyone lies and that sometimes it’s acceptable, so Tom just thinks that it’s a normal thing to do and that it doesn’t effect anyone.

7. The techniques that Twain uses to create sympathy for his characters are that he has them put into bad situations where you can easily relate to them. In particular Jim because he is a runaway slave trying to create a life for himself and he has already had to deal with the fact that he was separated from his family, which can only make you feel sorry for him.

8. The place of morality in Huckleberry Finn comes from one’s experiences because Huck starts off with the basic beliefs of society and is forced to make his own opinions through his experiences and basically alter societies beliefs to fit his own. Twain mocks the morality of the community because he believes it is full of people that do not think for themselves and just follow what everyone else says and believes.

9. Twain might have decided to set the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery to show the full process of Huck’s maturation because without Jim being a runway slave, it would not have shown the fact that Huck put aside racial and social differences and had real relationship with someone of such difference to himself.

10. I don’t think this was a racist book because Twain is just describing society and its position on slavery at that time period. I think that high school students should be allowed to read the book so they can gain a better understanding of the wrongs of slavery and lies.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Ryan Maxwell said...

1. Mark Twain uses a boy in his book for various reasons. One reason is that using a boy as the main character gives him a sense of innocence. He is also impressionable and can evaluate pressure without the interference of outside interferences.

2. Twain uses dialects in his book to make the characters seem more simple. This gives the reader the impression that he is less learned and also helps give the sense that he is impressionable.

3. The river is a symbol of American history. It reflects the passage of American time. This is demonstrated by the characters and events in the book.

4. There are many lies in the book. There is no differences between the good and bad lies. They are both wrong, especially depriving the widow of her black property. So much lying goes on because it shows the influence of the devil.

5. The different models are those of huck finn and those of the shepardsons. Family structures are very important because they provide structure in the family. Their place in society is in the family. Huck and Tom have a mutual friendship family. Society intervenes in the family when a lost dad comes back.

6. Tom was not inexecuseably cruel and was just being a thirteen year old boy. His behavior comments and that society can always act quite juvenille.

7. In order to create sympathy for Jim, he uses techniques. Jims dialect is one. This makes him seen like he was never given the chance to learn anything at all, ever. These techniques are effective.

8. The morality in Huck Finn is almost non existent. They never think of morals when makeing their decisions and they always do what would benefiet them most. Morals values don't really come from anywhere because they don't exist in the novel. He doesn't approve of morals because they are not used in the novel.

9. He sets it before the civil war because this is a time when he can use the plight of the black slave to his advantage. He would have a harder time of spreading his message after the civil war.

10. Huck Finn is not a racist book because they are niggers in his time. People in other time periods should not be considered racist. They were property, so can't be racist toward property. It should be read in high school because its a piece of classical american literature.


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