The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The_Adventures_of_Huck_Finn-cover_imageHaving won thousands of dollars, having a drunken father and being forced to be civilized and learn religion is not too good. This is what young Huckleberry experiences at the start of the book. His father wants money to buy alcohol so young Huckleberry Finn must prevent it from happening. Huckleberry fakes his death by running away. And there he meets Jim, a runaway slave. Both of them go into the most epic adventure ever!

War. Racism. Slavery. Everyone drunk. Bad grammar and manners. Low moral tone. This is what happens during 1830-1840’s. But, despite all the negative things, I notice the good things too. Loyalty is very important in best friends. As Jim gets captured, Huck and Tom reunite to help Jim out. The contrary-wise happens. So the more friends you have, the better it is. Huckleberry is a brave child. As he runs away, he comes across some wild animals that are dangerous. He meets a duke, stows aboard a boat and sees a dead corpse. Huck is also easy to adapt, from being rich with the widow and becoming poor when his father found him.

The setting in this story is exactly like the setting in the book Tom Sawyer. Welcome to the South. It is in the Missouri River, along the Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas; and a little bit more further away. The setting seems peaceful and reflects the year of nineteenth century. I think, there’s real beauty in this South. I’ve never been in the USA, but I would love to come someday to see the natural beauty in the setting of Huck Finn. William Faulkner wrote about the South too, and I learn the good and the bad of the South.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

1. “here was a free nigger there from Ohio—a mulatter, most as white as a white man. He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat; and there ain’t a man in that town that’s got as fine clothes as what he had; and he had a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane—the awful- est old gray-headed nabob in the State. And what do you think? They said he was a p’fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything. And that ain’t the wust. They said he could VOTE when he was at home. Well, that let me out. Thinks I, what is the country a-coming to? It was ‘lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn’t too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I says I’ll never vote agin. (chapter 6)”

I checked the modern translation, and there it goes:

“Oh yes, this government is wonderful, just wonderful. Just listen to this: There was an elderly free n—– from Ohio who was the nicest looking grey-haired man in the state. He was a mulatto who looked as white as any white man. We wore the whitest shirt you’ve ever seen and the shiniest hat too. He had a gold watch and chain and a silver-headed cane. There wasn’t a man in town with clothes as fine as his. And do you know what they said about him? They said he was a college professor, who could speak several different languages and knew everything. But that isn’t the worst thing. They said he could VOTE in his home state. Well that sure pissed me off. What’s this country coming to, I asked myself. It was election day, and I would have voted myself, if I hadn’t been too drunk to get to the polls. But when they told me there was a state in this country where a n—– could vote, I stopped dead in my tracks. I said I’d never vote again as long as I live.”

This part is one of the great parts I like. It is full of the racial attitudes. The struggle for tolerance is a long road that everyone must pursue.

2. “It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way.” (chapter 15)

Why did like this quote? Because I notice that Huck is not very happy to apologize to a black man, but he does it, anyway. I am very impressed to think about the time and place during Huck lives, even though he is still racist… well, he is less racist that everyone else. I am wondering what Twain trying to say in here: is he holding Huck as a good example or does Twain want the society to do better?

Mark Twain isn’t actually the real name of Samuel Langhorn Clemens. He got it when he heard some men in the Missouri river testing how deep its water. He had four daughters and a wife. He died in the year 1910. I love The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn though the language becomes a challenge for me.


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