“ The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” - Mark Twain Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
When the comet passed out of the sky on the night of April 21, 1910, Mark Twain breathed his last breath. Mark Twain was born November 30, 1835. On the day he was born Haley’s comet blazed through the midnight sky.
Mark Twain Background
Born Samuel Clemens in Florida, Missouri. Family later moved to river town of Hannibal
Slave owning family
1857- apprenticed as river boat pilot.
First professional writing position as a journalist for a Virginian newspaper
Began using pseudonym Mark Twain (meaning two fathoms) when writing political reports as journalist.
Twain’s celebrity image—frontier myth.
Iconic image of Twain as adventurer. Associated with river boat and frontier myth. This image generated through Twain’s novels, travel book and his celebrity image.
(1868) General Washington's Negro Body-Servant
(1876) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
(1884) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(1894) Pudd'n'head Wilson
(1897) Following the Equator
(1870) The Noble Red Man
(1895) Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses
(1901) The United States of Lyncherdom
Works: Dealing with Race
Main themes: racial prejudice and segregation and r ight of passage from childhood to adulthood.
The adventures that he wrote about were based on the difficult racial tensions of the time. Shows life as a runaway Negro slave .
Very controversial and was highly censored because of the racial implications dealt with in the book.
Mark Twain based his character Huckleberry Finn on his childhood friends.
Views : African Americans Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Characters are the persons represented in a dramatic or narrative work, who are interpreted by the reader as possessing particular moral, intellectual and emotional qualities by what they say (dialogue) and what they do (action)
The character’s motivation is their temperament, desires and moral nature .
A character can either;
may undergo radical change
from the beginning to the end of a text.
It should not, however, be inconsistent.
It can be round or flat.
It can also be humorous or dramatic (or both)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Realist novel about Huck Finn – the illiterate, poor white son of town drunk. Novel focuses on his relationship with Jim, a runaway slave. Huck and Jim as inter-racial double.
Jim is a Sambo – like character
“ Huckleberry Finn is the best book we’ve ever had. There was nothing better. There’s been nothing as good since” - Earnest Hemmingway
How has Huck Finn changed?
Many of his works carried the common theme that relayed Mark Twains’ personnel beliefs towards African Americans
Twain was anti-slavery, anti-racist and against prejudice.
I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices or caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being--that is enough for me; he can't be any worse . From: "Concerning the Jews“
Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel (1960)
Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (1993)