Do you like reading American Classics, then you might want to consider read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain!The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
There are many instances when the younger generation ignore the classics. But that is a big mistake, since many of them teach us what life was life during a certain era. To also understand where we are going, we need an understanding of where we are coming from. The classics, as well as history, teaches us.
But the other important point, is that human nature hasn’t changed, so we can learn a lot about people by reading the classics.
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Banned Books Week
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is the third book I am featuring for Banned Books Week. Once again, I decided to read the book first before I investigate why the book was banned in the first place. After reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I couldn’t figure out by myself why the book was banned.
Yes, as a black woman, I found it very offensive because of Twain’s frequent use of the word “nigger” in the story, but during that time period in which the story was set – in the 1840s – that was the norm, which doesn’t make it right, but it is what it is.
According to PBS:
“African Americans and others, led by the NAACP, begin to challenge the book in the 1950s, appalled by the novel’s portrayal of the slave Jim and its repeated use of the word “nigger.” The book is removed from some schools in the New York City school system, and its place on required reading lists is threatened in other cities…. other writers as diverse as American poet T.S. Eliot and African American novelist Ralph Ellison add their acclaim. It is increasingly studied at both the high school and college level, where its literary merit and the insights it offers into American society are praised. In particular, some consider Twain’s satire to be a powerful attack on racism.”
Additionally, when the book was first published in the US, many libraries banned it from their bookshelves.
What is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain About?
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer . Although I had both books, since The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was once banned, I decided to read it before I read its prequel.
I must admit that the jury is still out as to whether or not I enjoyed the book. I understand why The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is frequently on the lists of must-read books because I have found some potent lessons, but enjoying a book is a very personal experience.
At the start of the book, we learn that Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer had found $6000. Judge Thatcher is keeping the money for Huck, and he goes to the judge whenever he needs money. The lad lives with a widow and her sister, Miss Watson. For the first time in his life, Huck goes to school, and he has to abide by rules. After a while he starts to enjoy school.
After his father had been gone for over a year, Huck notices the tracks of his father’s boots, and realizes that he has been watching the house where Huck resides. Having an abundance of common sense, the lad goes to the Judge and tells him he doesn’t want the money. Huck’s father is an abusive alcoholic.
Sure enough, when his father finally makes his presence known, he wants money to buy alcohol and threatens to beat Huck if he doesn’t get his way. The father has also heard that Huck is wealthy and wants the money for himself. Huck senior forces his son to go away with him. They are living in his isolated cabin in the woods on the Illinois shoreline. He beats his son mercilessly, and when he leaves to buy booze, he locks Huck in the cabin and takes the key with him. Huck plans his escape and stages his death. It so happens that Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, decides to free himself the same time Huck stages his death.
Huck and Jim meet on Jackson Island. After going into town, Huck learns from Judith Loftus that her husband and another man are going after Jim to get money for finding the runaway slave. Huck and Jim flee fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri and raft down the Mississippi River. The duo have some fantastic adventures and Huck uses his brain to get them out of some tight spots. Although Huck gets into a lot of trouble, he has a good heart. And more often than not, he does the right thing.
In one instance when Huck finds out that two thieves are plotting to kill another, he devises a way to rescue the man, without endangering himself. In another instance, just before they embark on their Arkansas adventure, Jim and Huck take on two con artists aboard their raft, who call themselves the duke and the king. The duke and the king are always looking for a way to make a quick buck.
They pretend to be the two brothers, Harvey and William, of a recently departed man who has left behind three daughters, land, a considerable amount of cash and other assets. When Huck sees how nice the eldest daughter Mary Jane is, and how sorely she misses her dad, he realizes that he cannot allow the two con artists to cheat the girls out of their inheritance and devises a way to assist them.
When the deal falls apart, and the con artists do not get any money, in fact they lose $415, they sell Jim without telling Huck, and the lad is determined to free the runaway slave. Huck and Tom Sawyer meet again and they come up with a plan to free Jim.
When Tom is around, Huck defers to him, and I thought that is an important lesson in the book, because Huck tends to make better choices than Tom. But more importantly, the lesson is that we shouldn’t give away our power. Tom also likes to take the road less traveled, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but he craves the difficult path, and there are times when simplicity is a better option.
Should You Buy The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain?
Huck uses his past experiences to survive. His father abused him, and left him to his own devices frequently. The experiences make Huck much stronger, and as a result, whatever life throws his way, he is able to find a way to overcome the challenges. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain deals with race and identity, which are two difficult yet important topics. I recommend this book because the themes are still relevant today. And the message and lessons in the book are timeless.
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