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In Missouri[ edit ] The story begins in fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri based on the actual town of Hannibal, Missouri , on the shore of the Mississippi River "forty to fifty years ago" the novel having been published in Huckleberry "Huck" Finn the protagonist and first-person narrator and his friend, Thomas "Tom" Sawyer, have each come into a considerable sum of money as a result of their earlier adventures detailed in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Huck explains how he is placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who, together with her stringent sister, Miss Watson, are attempting to "sivilize" him and teach him religion.
Knowing that Pap would only spend the money on alcohol, Huck is successful in preventing Pap from acquiring his fortune; however, Pap kidnaps Huck and leaves town with him. Jim has also run away after he overheard Miss Watson planning to sell him "down the river" to presumably more brutal owners. After heavy flooding on the river, the two find a raft which they keep as well as an entire house floating on the river. Entering the house to seek loot, Jim finds the naked body of a dead man lying on the floor, shot in the back.
He prevents Huck from viewing the corpse. To find out the latest news in town, Huck dresses as a girl and enters the house of Judith Loftus, a woman new to the area. Loftus becomes increasingly suspicious that Huck is a boy, finally proving it by a series of tests. Once he is exposed, she nevertheless allows him to leave her home without commotion, not realizing that he is the allegedly murdered boy they have just been discussing.
The two hastily load up the raft and depart. After a while, Huck and Jim come across a grounded steamship. Searching it, they stumble upon two thieves discussing murdering a third, but they flee before being noticed. They are later separated in a fog, making Jim intensely anxious, and when they reunite, Huck tricks Jim into thinking he dreamed the entire incident. Jim is not deceived for long, and is deeply hurt that his friend should have teased him so mercilessly.
Huck becomes remorseful and apologizes to Jim, though his conscience troubles him about humbling himself to a black man. Huck is given shelter on the Kentucky side of the river by the Grangerfords, an "aristocratic" family.
He befriends Buck Grangerford, a boy about his age, and learns that the Grangerfords are engaged in a year blood feud against another family, the Shepherdsons. The Grangerfords and Shepherdsons go to the same church, which ironically preaches brotherly love. In the resulting conflict, all the Grangerford males from this branch of the family are shot and killed, including Buck, whose horrific murder Huck witnesses.
He is immensely relieved to be reunited with Jim, who has since recovered and repaired the raft. The younger man, who is about thirty, introduces himself as the long-lost son of an English duke the Duke of Bridgewater.
The older one, about seventy, then trumps this outrageous claim by alleging that he himself is the Lost Dauphin , the son of Louis XVI and rightful King of France. To divert suspicions from the public away from Jim, they pose him as recaptured slave runaway, but later paint him up entirely blue and call him the "Sick Arab" so that he can move about the raft without bindings.
On one occasion, the swindlers advertise a three-night engagement of a play called "The Royal Nonesuch".
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Wikipedia
On the afternoon of the first performance, a drunk called Boggs is shot dead by a gentleman named Colonel Sherburn; a lynch mob forms to retaliate against Sherburn; and Sherburn, surrounded at his home, disperses the mob by making a defiant speech describing how true lynching should be done.
By the third night of "The Royal Nonesuch", the townspeople prepare for their revenge on the duke and king for their money-making scam, but the two cleverly skip town together with Huck and Jim just before the performance begins.
In the next town, the two swindlers then impersonate brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property. The arrival of two new men who seem to be the real brothers throws everything into confusion, so that the townspeople decide to dig up the coffin in order to determine which are the true brothers, but, with everyone else distracted, Huck leaves for the raft, hoping to never see the duke and king again.
When Huck is finally able to get away a second time, he finds to his horror that the swindlers have sold Jim away to a family that intends to return him to his proper owner for the reward.
In the meantime, Jim has told the family about the two grifters and the new plan for "The Royal Nonesuch", and so the townspeople capture the duke and king, who are then tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. During the actual escape and resulting pursuit, Tom is shot in the leg, while Jim remains by his side, risking recapture rather than completing his escape alone.
After this, events quickly resolve themselves. Jim is revealed to be a free man: Miss Watson died two months earlier and freed Jim in her will, but Tom who already knew this chose not to reveal this information to Huck so that he could come up with an artful rescue plan for Jim. Huck is rewarded six hundred dollars for saving the aunts from the con men. Huck gives most of it to Jim for his family.
Major themes[ edit ] Adventures of Huckleberry Finn explores themes of race and identity.
Mark Twain, in his lecture notes, proposes that "a sound heart is a surer guide than an ill-trained conscience" and goes on to describe the novel as " When Huck escapes — which anyone would agree was the right thing to do — he then immediately encounters Jim "illegally" doing the same thing. The treatment both of them receive are radically different especially with an encounter with Mrs.
Judith Loftus who takes pity on who she presumes to be a runaway apprentice, Huck, yet boasts about her husband sending the hounds after a runaway slave, Jim.
The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Clemens, Samuel L
Kemble , at the time a young artist working for Life magazine. Kemble was hand-picked by Twain, who admired his work. Hearn suggests that Twain and Kemble had a similar skill, writing that: Whatever he may have lacked in technical grace Kemble shared with the greatest illustrators the ability to give even the minor individual in a text his own distinct visual personality; just as Twain so deftly defined a full-rounded character in a few phrases, so too did Kemble depict with a few strokes of his pen that same entire personage.
When the novel was published, the illustrations were praised even as the novel was harshly criticized. 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 Hudson River , Twain returned to his work on the novel. For example, Twain revised the opening line of Huck Finn three times. Thirty thousand copies of the book had been printed before the obscenity was discovered. A new plate was made to correct the illustration and repair the existing copies. Later it was believed that half of the pages had been misplaced by the printer. The library successfully claimed possession and, in , opened the Mark Twain Room to showcase the treasure.
Smith suggests that while the "dismantling of the decadent Romanticism of the later nineteenth century was a necessary operation," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn illustrated "previously inaccessible resources of imaginative power, but also made vernacular language, with its new sources of pleasure and new energy, available for American prose and poetry in the twentieth century. Kemble , Jim has given Huck up for dead and when he reappears thinks he must be a ghost.
One incident was recounted in the newspaper the Boston Transcript: One member of the committee says that, while he does not wish to call it immoral, he thinks it contains but little humor, and that of a very coarse type.
He regards it as the veriest trash. The library and the other members of the committee entertain similar views, characterizing it as rough, coarse, and inelegant, dealing with a series of experiences not elevating, the whole book being more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people. When asked by a Brooklyn librarian about the situation, Twain sardonically replied: I am greatly troubled by what you say.
The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean.
None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating. A Life that "Huckleberry Finn endures as a consensus masterpiece despite these final chapters", in which Tom Sawyer leads Huck through elaborate machinations to rescue Jim.
However, Hearn continues by explaining that "the reticent Howells found nothing in the proofs of Huckleberry Finn so offensive that it needed to be struck out". Many Twain scholars have argued that the book, by humanizing Jim and exposing the fallacies of the racist assumptions of slavery, is an attack on racism. In , high school student Calista Phair and her grandmother, Beatrice Clark, in Renton , Washington, proposed banning the book from classroom learning in the Renton School District, though not from any public libraries, because of the word "nigger".
Clark filed a request with the school district in response to the required reading of the book, asking for the novel to be removed from the English curriculum. The teacher, John Foley, called for replacing Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with a more modern novel.
A edition of the book, published by NewSouth Books , replaced the word "nigger" with "slave" although being incorrectly addressed to a freed man and did not use the term "Injun.