The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn discussion

Long time ago and far from here...

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message 1: by Mateusz (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:33PM) (new)

Mateusz I read this book when I was a child so I don’t remember it very well. It also makes big difference in understanding. Especially because it’s American book about American reality. So this book is in two ways far from me. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I even prefer that one then “Tom Sawyer”.

That’s my first day here so welcome everybody and sorry for my English! :)

message 2: by Lucinda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:35PM) (new)

Lucinda Reed-Nowland Dzien dobri! Welcome aboard. I am not a fan of Mark Twain, how unamerican of me, and I hope you are able to find better books about the American experience. happy reading :)

message 3: by Chicklet (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chicklet I love both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
It's been my experience that a person's opinion on Huckleberry Finn is greatly linked to whether they were assigned it for a class, or stumbled upon it by choice. I feel fortunate that I came across it on my own....

message 4: by Rayni (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rayni Good comment Chicklet. I think you have a point there. I read it on my own when I was in junior high. I liked it, but I think I would like it better now. I didn't like Mark Twain, but my best friend loved his books & persuaded me to read it. I don't remember having to read this book in high school.

message 5: by Andy (last edited Dec 20, 2007 10:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andy Lee Just to give my two cents worth, I believe this is one of those books that reaches the category of "A Classic" because it is a phenomenonal book.

Clearly Twain was a forward thinking man and a thinking man. He was able to take the idea of slavery and make a mockery of it through Huck. In his time people didn't give much thought to slavery and Twain was too shrewd to just come out and declare, "SLAVERY IS WRONG PEOPLE!"

I'm probably oversimplyfing Twain's genius, but the book is incredibly insightful and full of good humor.

And as a high school teacher, I think it is a shame that this book is no longer read in school. Who cares that the word, "nigger" appears more than a hundred times. I don't think that the book is racist, or somehow degrading to blacks. That's how people spoke back then. I don't think that we should be so politically correct to deprive our students of a significant American novel.

Chicklet Seeing a comment about Huckleberry Finn by a high school teacher reminds me of something.
I happened to read this book in high school - but on my own, not as an assignment.
Take a look at the introduction by Mark Twain. He has something in there about not wanting his book to be studied, but to be enjoyed. (Not even close to a quote, I read that a long time ago.) As a high school student this struck me. First a part of me just went "yeah!" And a part of me thought of his foresight. As if he knew that his book would be studied in so many ways in the future and he wanted people to stop and just enjoy the book for what it is. And a part of me (and this grew as I read the book) had to acknowledge that this is a book worthy of discussion and much thought. I would not have minded reading this for a good teacher with thought provoking questions and/or essays assignments on interesting topics in the book.
As for teaching this book in a high school...
I had a high school teacher that did a unit on Of Mice and Men. That book has swearing in it. As a result a few of my friends requested to have another book to study in the library. I think they went above her head, perhaps involving their parents and the principal. I admired their standing up for what they believe in. I did not join them as I wanted to read the book. My teacher wasn't too happy about it, but she assigned them I don't know what and they were in the library for the remainder of that unit.
The point is...perhaps if you gave an alternative book, giving the students a choice, your school would be accepting of you teaching the grand classic.

Rayni My son was assigned a book in high school English where he needed a parent's signature to allow him to read it. I had no problem w/him reading it, if he wanted to read it. I appreciated the teacher getting parental permission. As far as Huck Finn, yes it is a classic & Twain was an incredibly insightful man.

message 8: by CMT325 (new)

CMT325 Chicklet, I also enjoy his title. However, in my class, which is currently reading it, I asked the class if they thought he was being serious and didn't want us to learn anything, OR, if that was sarcastic and "tongue in cheek" and he actually hoped we would get the message he was getting us. The satire os so strong in this book! So, do you think that he
A.didn't want us to take his book seriously at all, and just enjoy it -OR-
B.did he want us to enjoy it, mock the "foolish people" that Huck meets throughout the book, and realize the irony that a young boy realizes racism and slavery are wrong and society does not?

I must be careful, for ...

"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
-Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Sarah Long In the days of the civil rights movement, the NAACP branded this book as "racist". I would like very much to know if that organization still holds that same position. It doesn't take much reading between the lines to figure out that Jim, the runaway slave, is the true hero of this story and the character with the most heart, soul, compassion, and honesty. The only other character who comes close is Huck, himself a social outcast and "uncivilized".

There is a great deal of racism documented throughout this book. Documented so that it could be utterly yet subtly pulled out into the light of day and exposed for the hateful, foolish practice that it is. By using a "foolish" and uneducated boy to make his poignant observations, Twain was able to strike a blow against some of the most prevailing attitudes of his day without stirring up the level of fury that usually accompanied any discussion of the slavery issue.

Mark Twain was certainly a forward thinking man; his ideas were scandalous in the South of his era, and beyond, as the book is one of the most challenged and banned in the history of American literature.

message 10: by Pandora (new)

Pandora Mark Twain must have been onto something since he has been banned by both the right and left. The use of the n word was very effective in that most of the people who used didn't have 1/4 of the quality of Jim. They use of the word is a mark aganist them.

I was assinged this book in High School. So long ago no permission slips needed. (Irony makes the cover of Time and still banned. Does France ban Hugo? Does England ban Dickens?) Even though the book was assinged I still loved it. Probably because the teacher who taught it was a rebel who was determined to make us think. I guess it all comes down on how you teach a good book.

The power of the book was proved to me when I was lucky enough to see a one man show of Mark Twain. In the program there was a list of possible passages from Huck Finn. To my sadness the actor choose to use what I considered a lesser passage. Boy, was I wrong. It was the chapter where they get lost in the fog and Huck plays a joke on Jim.

Sarah Long Jim uses the "N" word himself. It was a regular part of the vernacular of the day. And yet Jim retained his dignity and humanity through every humiliation he chose to endure. I say "chose" because he could have avoided much of what happened to him, but his fundamental decency and his loyalty and love for his friend were even more important to him than his freedom.

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