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Perspectives in Huck Finn part 1


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An introduction... and exploration!

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Perspectives in Huck Finn part 1

  1. 1. • "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn" Ernest Hemingway Mark Twain & The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  2. 2. • Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens , on November 30, 1835 in Florida , Missouri , in a slave owning family. • Family later moved to river town of Hannibal. • Apprenticed as river boat pilot. • Began using pseudonym Mark Twain (meaning two fathoms) when writing political reports as journalist for a Virginian newspaper.
  3. 3. ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN First published in 1885
  4. 4. HISTORICAL CONTEXT Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular Set in pre-Civil War years Set 40-50 years before 1885 publication Satirizing a Southern society, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is, among other things, an often critical look at deep- rooted attitudes, particularly racism.
  5. 5. PERSPECTIVES ABOUT THE HYPOCRISY OF “CIVILIZED” SOCIETY • Society’s laws (Miss Watson and Widow Douglas) vs. higher moral values (Huck and Jim) • Rules and principles that reflect faulty logic • Civilized vs. Natural life / freedom? • A “just” society that condones slavery • Unsteady justice is blinded by cowardice, prejudice, and a lack of common sense • Seemingly good characters are slave-owners • Hypocrisy of “civilized” society which values morality, but
  6. 6. Characterisation – PERSPECTIVES ABOUT MATURITY AND DEVELOPMENT • The novel is a moral coming-of-age story • Being open-minded is one of Huck’s qualities • Huck is a child – Huck’s characterization positions the responder to follow the natural development and maturation of Huck’s moral compass • Through the first person narration, Huck’s inner conflicts between “right and wrong” develop Huck’s character as being essentially human – this invites a stronger sense of connection between the reader and Huck. Describe (and find quotes for) two different “adventures” which show Huck’s inner conflict between right and wrong. • The reader gains a balanced insight into the reality of the world in which Huck has travelled. How? • Huck’s relationship with Jim assists his progression throughout the novel. Find quotes which support this statement • Huck’s experiences and apprehension about society help lead to his maturity .
  7. 7. PERSPECTIVES ABOUT RELIGION • Twain focuses on the different perspectives/interpretations of religion. • Throughout his life, Twain was known for his attacks on organized religion. • Huck Finn's sarcastic characterization invites the reader to challenge various perpectives about religion. • In the first chapter, Huck indicates that hell sounds far more fun than heaven.
  8. 8. PERSPECTIVES ABOUT THE NATURE OF FREEDOM • The novel explores different perspectives about the value (OR danger) of individual thought and ideals. What is a the dominant perspective presented in the novel? Individuality & personal liberty OR Social conventions for the ‘common good’ of a “’sivilsed” society? • Is it possible to escape an illogical and oppressive society? Identify two different perspectives about whether or not society is oppressive. For whom? Why? • Explore the perspectives on slavery vs. liberty Are the “outcasts” of society the only truly free characters? Explain and support your position.
  9. 9. Symbols The Mississippi River  a symbol • The Land (Civilized society) Vs The River (individual freedom) • Raft: is a symbol for escape  safe place As Huck puts it: "Other places seem so cramped and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft." Money / wealth / property  a symbol • separates the civilized from the “outcasts
  10. 10. Literary and Artistic Movements: REALISM and REGIONALISM • Realism is a style of writing, developed in the 19th century, that attempts to depict life accurately, as it really is, without idealizing or romanticizing. Regionalism is literature that emphasizes a specific geographic setting and that reproduces the speech, behavior, and attitudes of the people who live in the region.
  11. 11. • Attack upon Romantics and Transcendentalists • Goal of realism is to represent cultural, social, political and personal perspectives with truth and honesty  “warts-and-all”  exploring hypocrisies which exist in: • our world • our communities • our institutions • our families, and…. • in ourselves. • Realism is pragmatic, democratic, and experimental  Twain uses phonetic spelling, vernacular, dialect and idiom to separate various perspectives. Find quotations which show different dialects and – subsequently – different perspectives. Literary and Artistic Movements: REALISM and REGIONALISM