Mangy Cat's Reviews > The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
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Jan 25, 08

bookshelves: classics
Read in January, 2008

Now, I'm not normally a fan of dialect, but I tell you, Mark Twain has given a fine example of the right way to do it. He is consistent in the spellings of the different words he uses and shows different ways of speaking for each of the characters. That is, they don't all sound alike. So it feels authentic. I really like that aspect. The language that Twain uses for Huck Finn's voice is absolutely delicious. It's so rich and wonderful you can cut it with a knife. He keeps up the quality of his main character's voice throughout the entire novel, staying consistent and making the story so much more sweet than it would be otherwise.

One thing I noticed is that though Huck's grammar leaves something to be desired, he actually has quite a good vocabulary. I wonder how that worked out? I suppose it had something to do with the fact that he lived a lot of his life "uneducated" then went to school once he was living with the widow. He used a word like "frivolous"--which you wouldn't think a kid who uses "weren't" instead of "wasn't" would know.

I wish I'd read through Huck Finn with a highlighter in hand, because there are so many amazing passages that are supremely wise and/or are worded in such a way as to express some simple, great truth or lesson through Huck's incredible narration. One of the bits that stands out in my mind is this one. Huck is having dinner with a big group, and the women who cooked are talking about the food:

Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan alongside her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chicken was--and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for to force out compliments; and all the people all knowed everything was tiptop, and said so--said, "How DO you get biscuits so brown and nice?" and "Where, for land's sake, did you get these amaz'n pickles?" and all that kind of humbug talky-talk, just the way people always does at a supper, you know.

Just writing that out makes me hunger for more. This is definitely one to re-read in the future, if only just to savor the taste of it once again.
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