The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (41295)

Посмотреть архив целиком

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 selling him down river. He encounters Huck on Jackson's Island, and the two become friends and spend most of the rest of the novel together. Jim deeply grieves his separation from his wife and two children and dreams of getting them back. He is an intensely human character, perhaps the novel's most complex. Through his example, Huck learns to appreciate the humanity of black people, overcoming his society's bigotry and making a break with its moral code. Twain also uses him to demonstrate racial equality. But Jim himself remains somewhat enigmatic; he seems both comrade and father figure to Huck, though Huck, the youthful narrator, may not be able to thoroughly evaluate his friend, and so the reader has to suppose some of his qualities.

The Duke and Dauphin { These two criminals appear for much of the novel. Their real names are never given, but the younger man, about thirty years old, claims to be the Duke of Bridgewater, and is called both "the Duke" and "Bridgewater" in the novel, though for the sake of clarity, he is only called "the Duke" here. The much older man claims to be the son of Louis XVI, the executed French king. "Dauphin" was the title given to heirs to the French throne. He is mostly called "the king" in the novel (since his father is dead, he would be the rightful king), though he is called "the Dauphin" in this study guide since the name is more distinctive. The two show themselves to be truly bad when they separate a slave family at the Wilks household, and later sell Jim.

Tom Sawyer { Huck's friend, and the protagonist of Tom Sawyer, the novel for which Huckleberry Finn is ostensibly the sequel. He is in many ways Huck's foil, given to exotic plans and romantic adventure literature, while Huck is more down-to-earth. He also turns out to be profoundly selfish.

On the whole, Tom is identified with the "civilzation" from which Huck is alienated. Other characters, in order of appearance Widow Douglas and Miss Watson { Two wealthy sisters who live together in a large house in St. Petersburg. Miss Watson is the older sister, gaunt and severe-looking. She also adheres the strongest to the hypocritical religious and ethical values of the dominant society. Widow Douglas, meanwhile, is somewhat gentler in her beliefs and has more patience with the mischievous Huckleberry. She adopted Huck at the end of the last novel, Tom Sawyer, and he is in her care at the start of Huckleberry Finn. When Miss Watson considers selling Jim down to New Orleans, away from his wife and children and deep into the plantation system, Jim escapes. She eventually repents, making provision in her will for Jim to be freed, and dies two months before the novel ends.

Pap { Huckleberry's father and the town drunk and ne'er- do-well. When he appears at the beginning of the novel, he is a human wreck, his skin a disgusting ghost-like white, and his clothes hopelessly tattered. Like Huck, he is a member of the least privileged class of whites, and is illiterate. He is angry that his son is getting an education. He wants to get hold of Huck's money, presumably to spend it on alcohol. He kidnaps Huck and holds him deep in the woods. When Huck fakes his own murder, Pap is nearly lynched when suspicions turn his way. But he escapes, and Jim eventually finds his dead body on an abandoned houseboat.

Judge Thatcher { Judge Thatcher is in charge of safeguarding the money Huck and Tom won at the end of Tom Sawyer. When Huck discovers his father has come to town, he wisely signs his fortune over to the Judge. Judge Thatcher has a daughter, Becky, whom Huck calls "Bessie."

Aunt Polly { Tom Sawyer's aunt and guardian. She appears at the end of Huckleberry Finn and properly identifies Huck, who has pretended to be Tom; and Tom, who has pretended to be his brother, Sid (who never appears in this novel).

The Grangerfords { The master of the Grangerford clan is "Colonel"Grangerford, who has a wife. The children are Bob, the oldest, then Tom, then Charlotte, aged twenty- five, Sophia, twenty, and Buck, the youngest, about thirteen or fourteen. They also had a deceased daughter, Emme- line, who made unintentionally humorous, maudlin pictures and poems for the dead. Huckleberry thinks the Grangerfords are all physically beautiful. They live on a large estate worked by many slaves. Their house is decked out in humorously tacky finery that Huckleberry innocently admires. The Grangerfords are in a feud with the Shepardsons, though no one can remember the cause of the feud or see any real reason to continue it. When Sophia runs off with a Shepardson, the feud reignites, and Buck and another boy are shot. With the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons, Twain illustrates the bouts of irrational brutality to which the South was prone.

The Wilks Family { The deceased Peter Wilks has three daughters, Mary Jane, Susan, and Joanne (whom Huck calls "the Harelip"). Mary Jane, the oldest, takes charge of the sisters' afiairs. She is beautiful and kind- hearted, but easily swindled by the Duke and Dauphin. Susan is the next youngest. Joanna possess a cleft palate (a birth defect) and so Huck somewhat tastelessly refers to her as "the Hare Lip" (another name for cleft palate). She initially suspects Huck and the Duke and Dauphin, but eventually falls for the scheme like the others.

The Phelps family { The Phelps family includes Aunt Sally, Uncle Silas and their children. They also own several slaves. Sally and Silas are generally kind-hearted, and Silas in particular is a complete innocent. Tom and Huck are able to continue playing pranks on them for quite some time before they suspect anything is wrong. Sally, however, displays a chilling level of bigotry toward blacks, which many of her fellow Southerners likely share. The town

in which they live also cruelly kills the Duke and Dauphin. With the Phelps, Twain contrasts the good side of Southern civilization with its bad side.


Случайные файлы

Файл
99153.rtf
~1.doc
25384.rtf
55594.rtf
35577.rtf




Чтобы не видеть здесь видео-рекламу достаточно стать зарегистрированным пользователем.
Чтобы не видеть никакую рекламу на сайте, нужно стать VIP-пользователем.
Это можно сделать совершенно бесплатно. Читайте подробности тут.