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Could you review the book huckleberry finn for me.....?

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) by Mark Twain is commonly accounted as one of the first Great American Novels. It was also one of the first major American novels ever written using Local Color Realism or the vernacular, or common speech, being told in the first person by the eponymous Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, best friend of Tom Sawyer (hero of three other Mark Twain books). The book was first published in 1885.

The book is noted for its innocent young protagonist, its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River, and its sober and often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism, of the time. The drifting journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on their raft may be one of the most enduring images of escape and freedom in all of American literature.

Although the book has been popular with young readers since its publication, and taken as a sequel to the comparatively innocuous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (which had no particular social message), it has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. Although the Southern society it satirized was already a quarter-century in the past by the time of publication, the book immediately became controversial, and has remained so to this day (see "Controversy" below).

Based in the mid 1800s before the Civil War, the novel chronicles the journey of and relationship between Huckleberry Finn and a runaway southern slave, Jim, as they flee south on the Mississippi River. The pair have a journey that bring them together and that shows Mark Twain's dislike for slavery in the southern culture.

[edit] Explanation of the novel's title
Twain initially conceived of the work as a companion to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer that would follow Huck Finn through adulthood. Beginning with a chapter he had deleted from the earlier novel, Twain began work on a manuscript he originally titled Huckleberry Finn's Autobiography. Twain worked on the manuscript off and on for the next several years, ultimately abandoning his original plan of following Huck's development into adulthood. He appeared to have lost interest in the manuscript while it was in progress, and set it aside for several years. After making a trip down the Mississippi, Twain returned to his work on the novel. Upon completion, the novel's title closely paralleled its predecessor's: "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's Comrade)" [1]

Unlike The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn does not have the definite article "the" as a part of its proper title. Writer Philip Young has hypothesized that this absence represents the fundamentally uncompleted nature of Huck's adventures -- while Tom's adventures were completed (at least at the time) at the end of his novel, Huck's narrative ends with his stated intention to head West.[2]

[edit] Plot summary
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, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, "Notice", p. 1

[edit] Life in St. Petersburg
The novel begins in St. Petersburg (a fictional equivalent of Hannibal, Missouri) shortly after the events recounted in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom and Huckleberry have each come into a considerable sum of money as a result of their previous adventures, and Huck has been placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who, together with her sister, Miss Watson, is attempting to "sivilize" [sic] him. Huck appreciates their efforts, but finds civilized life confining.

Huck's life is changed by the appearance of his shiftless father, Pap Finn. Although Huck is successful in preventing his father from acquiring his fortune, his father gains custody of Huck (by kidnapping him) and the two move to the back woods. Equally unsatisfied with uncivilized life, Huck escapes from his father's cabin, fakes his own death, and sets off down the Mississippi River.

[edit] The journey begins
While in hiding, on an island, Huck meets Jim, Miss Watson's slave. Partly overhearing an argument between Widow Douglas and Miss Watson about whether to sell him or not (Miss Watson wanted to, but Widow Douglas didn't), Jim has run away rather than risk being further separated from his family. Huck visits a nearby town disguised as a girl and learns that the townspeople believe him dead and are hunting for his father and Jim, both of whom are suspects in his death. In order to prevent Jim's recapture and sale, Huck and Jim decide to flee downriver on a raft to Cairo, Illinois, where they will be able to take a steamboat north into the free states.

During their journey South, Huck and Jim are briefly separated in a fog. After Huck paddles his canoe back to the raft, he plays a trick on Jim, convincing Jim that Huck had never left the raft and that Jim only dreamed their separation. Jim's disappointment upon learning of the trick, and Huck's resulting shame, represents a turning point in their relationship, as Huck begins to think of Jim as a person and friend, rather than as a slave. Thereafter, Huck periodically reflects on the conflict between his "conscience," which tells him that by assisting a slave in escaping, he is stealing Miss Watson's property, and his "heart," which tells him that Jim deserves to be free. In each case, Huck's loyalty to Jim wins out.

Unfortunately, Huck and Jim overshoot Cairo, which places their raft firmly in slave country and heading further south. At that point, they have a series of adventures that satirize the Southern culture of the time and further underscore the distinction between the idyllic family structure of Jim and Huck on the raft compared to the various families they encounter on shore.

[edit] The Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons
Shortly after missing Cairo, Illinois Huck and Jim's raft is swamped by a passing steamship, separating the two. Huck is given shelter by the Grangerfords, a prosperous local family. He becomes friends with Buck Grangerford, a boy about his age, and learns that the Grangerfords are engaged in a long-running 30-year vendetta against another family, the Shepherdsons.

The vendetta finally comes to a head when Buck's sister, Sophia Grangerford, elopes with Harney Shepherdson. In the resulting conflict, all of the remaining Grangerford men are killed, and Huck narrowly escapes, reuniting with Jim and the raft and fleeing further south on the Mississippi River. As they are fleeing south, they run into two characters.

[edit] The Duke and the Dauphin
Further down the river, Jim and Huck rescue two grifters, both of whom join the two fugitives on the raft. The younger of the two, a man of about thirty, introduces himself as a son of an English Duke and is thereafter known as "the Duke." The older con man, about seventy, then trumps the Duke's claim by alleging that he is actually the "Lost Dauphin", the son of Louis XVI and rightful King of France. The Duke and the Dauphin then force Jim and Huck to allow them to travel on the raft, committing a series of confidence schemes on their way south.

During the course of these schemes, Huck sees the attempted lynching of a southern gentleman, Colonel Sherburn, after Sherburn kills a harmless town drunk. Sherburn faces down the lynch mob with a loaded rifle and forces them to back down after an extended speech regarding what he believes to be the essential cowardice of "Southern justice" -- i.e., the lynch mob. (This vignette, which stands out as essentially disconnected from the remaining plot, is thought to represent Twain's own contradictory and misanthropic impulses -- Huck, the outcast, essentially flees from Southern society, while Sherburn, the gentleman, confronts it, albeit in a brutal and destructive fashion.)[3]

One of the most detailed schemes is the "Nonesuch." After the Duke, who fancies himself a Shakespearean actor, is unable to interest the townspeople in a pastiche of various poorly remembered Shakespearean plays, he then creates a combination play/confidence scheme called the "Royal Nonesuch." After advertising for a spectacular performance, the con men actually put on a short, albeit slightly funny, show. Still, the townspeople aren't happy that the show was so short, but because they are upset at the possibility of losing face, the first night's crowd reports to their friends that the show was fantastic, resulting in an even larger crowd the second night. On the third night, the Nonesuch draws its largest crowd yet, as most of the previous two nights' attendees return, armed with vegetables and other items to throw at the performers in revenge. After selling tickets to the third night's crowd, the Duke and Dauphin flee, considerably enriched.

The Duke and the Dauphin's schemes reach their apotheosis when the two grifters impersonate the brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property. Using an absurd English accent, the Dauphin manages to convince most of the townspeople that he and the Duke are Wilks' brothers recently arrived from England, and proceeds to liquidate Wilks' estate. Huck is quite upset at the men's plan to steal the inheritance from Wilks' daughters and true brothers, as well as their actions in selling Wilks' slaves and separating their families. In order to prevent their plans, Huck steals the money the two have acquired and hides it in Wilks' coffin. Shortly thereafter, the two con men are discovered when Wilks' true brothers arrive. However, when the money is found in Wilks' coffin, the Duke and Dauphin are able to escape in the confusion, rejoining Huck and Jim on the raft.

[edit] Jim's escape
After the four fugitives flee further South on their raft, the Dauphin "captures" Jim and sells his interest in any reward. Outraged by this betrayal, Huck finally rejects the advice of his "conscience," which continues to tell him that by helping Jim escape to freedom, he is stealing Miss Watson's property. Telling himself "All right, then, I'll go to hell!", Huck resolves to free Jim.

Arriving at the home where Jim is being held, Huck discovers, improbably, that the Dauphin has for forty dollars sold his supposed interest in the slave Jim to Silas Phelps, Tom Sawyer's uncle. In a parallel to the con men's earlier scheme with the Wilks family, Silas's wife, Aunt Sally, mistakes Huck for Tom himself, and Huck plays along, hoping to find a way to free Jim. Shortly thereafter, Tom himself arrives for a visit, and agrees to join Huck's scheme, pretending to be his own brother, Sid Sawyer.

Either out of a desire to revenge himself on the grifters or out of charity for the townspeople, Jim reveals the secret of the Royal Nonesuch before the two rogues are able to set their confidence game into motion. That night, Tom and Huck see the Duke and Dauphin, who have been captured by the townspeople, tarred and feathered, being run out of town on a rail.

Rather than simply sneaking Jim out of the shed where he is being held, Tom develops an elaborate plan to free him, involving secret messages, hidden tunnels, and other elements from romantic novels, including a note to the Phelps warning them of the planned escape. Huck and Jim go along with the plan, but Tom is shot in the leg during the resulting chase. Rather than complete his escape, Jim insists that Huck return to town and find a doctor to treat Tom. Jim and Tom are then captured.

[edit] Conclusion
After Jim's recapture, events quickly resolve themselves. Tom's Aunt Polly arrives, and reveals Huck and Tom's true identities. Tom announces that Jim is and has been free for months—although Miss Watson died two months earlier and freed Jim in her will, Tom chose not to reveal Jim's freedom in order to go ahead with his scheme to break Jim from captivity. Similarly, Jim tells Huck that Huck's father, the frightening drunkard, Pap, has been dead for some time and that Huck may therefore now return safely to St. Petersburg (Jim discovered this when he and Huck were on Jackson Island and came upon part of a house drifting down stream. The dead body in the house, which Jim did not let Huck see, thinking it was bad luck for children to see dead bodies, was Huck's father). In the final narrative, Huck announces that he is quite glad to be done writing his story, and that although Tom's Aunt Sally plans to "sivilize" him, Huck himself intends to flee West.

[edit] Major themes
Family is one of the most important themes in the book. The attempt by Huck's father to gain custody of him in order to steal the money that Huck and Tom had found in the previous book precipitates his flight, Huck stages his own murder to get away. One of the major plot devices in the book is Jim's hiding the death of Huck's father from him. As they travel the river, Huck is frequently involved with families who attempt to adopt him.

Another theme is the life on the Mississippi River, alternately idyllic and threatening. In true picaresque fashion, Huck and Jim encounter all the varieties of humanity as they travel: murderers, thieves, confidence men, good people and hypocrites.

In the middle of the story, Mark Twain comments on the irrationality of pride and honor, as Huck sees brutal, cold-blooded murders committed by two feuding families. Later on, a Southern aristocrat coldly kills a drunken man who has been yelling empty threats at him, and the village turns the incident into a sort of circus, ignoring the dead man's daughter while trying to start a lynch mob, which quickly disintegrates after being mocked by the murderer himself. The "Dauphin" and the "Duke", two seemingly-innocuous (in some ways) confidence men are infamous characters of the novel who attempt to con three orphaned girls out of their late father's life savings. Towards the end of the book, they are tarred and feathered, and carried out of town on a rail, symbolizing how equally or more evil a village of people can be, given the magnitude of the response relative to that of the suspected crime.

Much of the section detailing the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons can be interpreted as an attack on exaggerated or melodramatic romanticism. The poem "Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots" by Emmeline Grangerford, two-thirds of which details what Stephen Dowling Bots did not die of, is an example. The whole Grangerford parlor was filled with kitsch. Also, Emmeline Grangerford's paintings, which had titles that all ended in "Alas", were also a parody of this. Emmeline Grangerford was modeled after Julia A. Moore, a notoriously bad poet known as "The Sweet Singer of Michigan".

It is commonly said that the beginning and ending of the book, the parts in which Tom Sawyer appears as a character, detract from its overall impact. Others feel Tom serves to start the story off and to bring it to a conclusion, and that Tom's ridiculous schemes have the paradoxical effect of providing a framework of 'reality' around the mythical river voyage. Much of the boyhood innocence and romantic depictions of nature occur in the first sixteen chapters and the last five, while the middle of the story shows the harsh realities of antebellum society.

Another theme is Huck's gradual acceptance of Jim as a man, strong, brave, generous, and wise (though realistically portrayed as imperfect).

Its themes on religion are almost as strong as its race theme. Huck himself comes across as religious but having trouble believing in God: although he tries to pray, he finds it to be a waste of time. Later in the book, he encounters the dilemma of whether or not to steal Jim out of slavery; he is forced to reckon with the fact that, according to his society, helping a slave escape will condemn him to Hell. His famous quote "All right, then, I'll GO to hell", is a direct attack by Twain on the religious support of slavery in the U.S. Huck comes across as one of the most unbiased, open-minded characters of popular literature as he continually questions his own motivation and life in general throughout the book. While he may not be pious, he does have a strong sense of right and wrong and often acts out of moral conviction.

In another amusing commentary on 19th century society, Twain includes the "Dauphin" character, a deluded, unemployed drunkard who insists upon being addressed as "Your Majesty" and claims to be the "Lost Dauphin", the long-lost son of Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, who were both executed by French republicans in 1793. Their son, Louis XVII, actually died in a republican jail in 1795, but many pretenders appeared all over the world claiming to have been the young boy-king of France. By the middle of the century their claims were becoming increasingly absurd and unbelievable.

Another theme is belonging. Huck does not feel as though he belongs. This is shown at both the beginning of the book and at the end. One of the reasons that Huck initially runs away, is because he feels that he doesn't belong in civilized society. We also see this play into the end of the book when Huck says that he doesn't want Aunt Sally to "sivilize" him.

[edit] Controversy

Huckleberry Finn. Drawing by EW Kemble from the original 1884 edition of the book.Although the Concord, Massachusetts library banned the book immediately after its publication because of its "tawdry subject matter" and "the coarse, ignorant language in which it was narrated", the San Francisco Chronicle came quickly to its defense on March 29, 1885:

"Running all through the book is the sharpest satire on the ante-bellum estimate of the slave. Huckleberry Finn, the son of a worthless, drunken, poor white man, is troubled with many qualms of conscience because of the part he is taking in helping the negro to gain his freedom. This has been called exaggerated by some critics, but there is nothing truer in the book."
There have been countless attempts to "clean up" the language in the book - all dismal failures. CBS Television went so far as to produce a made-for-TV version of Huck Finn that included no black cast members, no mention of slavery, and without the critical character Jim.

In the United States, occasional efforts have been made to restrict the reading of the book. In addition to its Concord ban, it has, at various times, also been:

excluded from the juvenile sections of the Brooklyn Public library and other libraries
removed from reading lists due to alleged racism (e.g., in March of 1995 it was removed from the reading list of 10th grade English classes at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, according to the Washington Post; and a New Haven, Connecticut correspondent to Banned Books Online reports it has been removed from a public school program there as well)
removed from school programs at the behest of groups maintaining that its frequent use of the word ****** (212 times overall) implies that the book as a whole is racist, despite what defenders maintain is the overwhelmingly [1] plot of the book, its satirical nature, and the anachronism of applying current definitions of polite speech to past times.
removed from public and school libraries because of its "racist" plot.
Russell Baker wrote:

"The people whom Huck and Jim encounter on the Mississippi are drunkards, murderers, bullies, swindlers, lynches, thieves, liars, frauds, child abusers, numbskulls, hypocrites, windbags and traders in human flesh. All are white. The one man of honor in this phantasmagoria is '****** Jim,' as Twain called him to emphasize the irony of a society in which the only true gentleman was held beneath contempt."[4]
(Albert Bigelow Paine, in his monumental 1912 Twain biography, had introduced the epithetic phrase among critics; see, e.g., Mailer [5].)

Ralph Ellison was impressed with how clearly Twain allowed Jim's "dignity and human capacity" to emerge in the novel. According to Ellison,

"Huckleberry Finn knew, as Mark Twain, that Jim was not only a slave but a human being [and] a symbol of humanity . . . and in freeing Jim, Huck makes a bid to free himself of the conventionalized evil [i.e., slavery] taken for civilization by the town." [6]

The American Library Association ranked Huckleberry Finn the fifth most frequently challenged (in the sense of attempting to ban) book in the United States during the 1990s.

Bill Walsh wrote:

"Huck Finn was (and probably will remain) a lesson in the use of language, of epithets, of slurs and how they can change (or not) over time."