The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Context Samuel Clemens was born in Missouri in 1835. He grew up in the town of Hannibal, Missouri, which would become the model for St. Petersburg, the fictional town where Huckleberry Finn begins. Missouri was a "slave state" during this period, and Clemens' family owned a few slaves. In Missouri, most slaves worked as domestic servants, rather than on the large agricultural plantations that most slaves elsewhere in the United States experienced. This domestic slavery is what Twain generally describes in Huckleberry Finn, even when the action occurs in the deep South. The institution of slavery figures prominently in the novel and is important in developing both the theme and the two most important characters, Huck and Jim. Twain

received a brief formal education, before going to work as an apprentice in a print shop. He would later find work on a steamboat on the Mississippi River. Twain developed a lasting afiection for the Mississippi and life on a steamboat, and would immortalize both in Life on the Mississippi (1883), and in certain scenes of Tom Sawyer (1876), and Huckleberry Finn (1885). He took his pseudonym, "Mark Twain," from the call a steamboat worker would make when the ship reached a (safe) depth of two fathoms. Twain would go on to work as a journalist in San Francisco and Nevada in the 1860s. He soon discovered his talent as a humorist, and by 1865 his humorous stories were attracting national attention. In 1870, Twain married Olivia Langdon of New York State. The family moved to

Hartford, Connecticut, to a large, ornate house paid for with the royalties from Twain's successful literary adventures. At Hartford and during stays with Olivia's family in New York State, Twain wrote The Gilded Age, co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner in 1873 and The Prince and the Pauper (1882), as well as the two books already mentioned. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was finally published in 1885. Twain had begun the book years earlier, but the writing was done in spurts of inspiration interrupted by long periods during which the manuscript sat in the author's desk. Despite the economic crisis that plagued the United States then, the book became a huge popular and financial success. It would become a classic of American literature and receive acclaim around the

world{today it has been published in at least twenty-seven languages. Still, at the time of publication, the author was bothered by the many bad reviews it received in the national press. The book was principally attacked for its alleged indecency. After the 1950s, the chief attacks on the book would be against its alleged racism or racial bigotry. For various reasons, the book frequently has been banned from US schools and children's libraries, though it was never really intended as a children's book. Nonetheless, the book has been widely read ever since its first publication well over a century ago, an exception to Twain's definition of a classic as "a book which people praise and don't read." Characters Huckleberry Finn { The protagonist and narrator of the novel.

Huck is the thirteen or fourteen year-old son of the local drunk in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, at the start of the novel. He is kidnapped by his father, Pap, from the "sivilizing" in uence of the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, and then fakes his own death to escape. He meets Jim on Jackson's Island. The rest of the novel is largely motivated by two conflicts: the external con ict to achieve Jim's freedom, and the internal con ict within Huck between his own sense of right and wrong and society's. Huck has a series of "adventures," making many observations on human nature and the South as he does. He progressively rejects the values of the dominant society and matures morally as he does. Jim { A slave who escaped from Miss Watson after she considered