Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

Other authorsJustin Kaplan (Introduction), Victor Doyno (Foreword)
Hardcover, 1996




New York : Random House, 1996.


Recounts the adventures of a young boy and an escaped slave as they travel down the Mississippi River on a raft.

Media reviews

Mark Twain may be called the Edison of our literature. There is no limit to his inventive genius, and the best proof of its range and originality is found in this book, in which the reader's interest is so strongly enlisted in the fortunes of two boys and a runaway negro that he follows their adventures with keen curiosity, although his common sense tells him that the incidents are as absurd and fantastic in many ways as the "Arabian Nights."

User reviews

LibraryThing member dougwood57
I envy anyone who has not yet read the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It is great fun and serious business at the same time; it is decidedly not a children’s book like Tom Sawyer.

Twain weaves an entertaining tale. He gets off the funniest line in the book right off the bat: "After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people."

Huck and the runaway slave Jim take off down the Mississippi and somehow manage to miss its confluence with the Ohio (where a left turn would have been in order). Amidst the wild adventures, slippery characters, and general hilarity, Twain slips slavery in as the central moral feature. The better Huck gets to know Jim, the more he realizes, to his surprise, that the black man is every bit as human as Huck himself. Huck, however, has been taught that helping an escaped slave is a sin for which he must surely burn in Hell. Huck decides he must consign himself to eternal fire rather than desert his friend.

Read this book.
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LibraryThing member Clif
It's interesting to compare my youthful and adult impressions of this book. When I read it as a child I was enthusiastic about the concept of a preadolescent running away from home, floating down the river and making it on his own. It was also my impression when reading it then that Jim was as young as Huck. I must have glossed over those clues in the book that clearly indicated that Jim was an adult. It's also a reflection of the attitude of the Antebellum South to refer to adult Negro men as 'boy.'

As an adult the most interesting feature of the book was its portrait of attitudes toward slavery in the Antebellum South. There was no apparent hint of doubt about their acceptance of the institution of slavery. This is supported by Mark Twain's own observation that nobody ever questioned the correctness of slavery in his presence when he was a young boy. I presume that if people from that time were able to comment on the book today they would say that the book exaggerates the strange activities of people from their era by crowding so many wild incidences into one story. On the other hand I think it could be argued that all stories told in the book (except for Tom Sawyer's stage directing near the end) are loosely based upon similar historical happenings.

It's clear to me that Mark Twain's goal in this book was to spin an entertaining yarn, and he had no intent of teaching a morals lesson about slavery. In the context of the late 19th Century readers he was successful. There is no record of criticism during the 19th Century finding anything racist about the book Huckleberry Finn. However, there were a number of critics that complained about the bad grammar and creative spellings used by Twain. The book was even banned from some libraries during the 19th Century because Huck Finn was a bad role model for young people. The objections to the book have changed in the 20th and 21st Century to focus on the issue of racism. Today the book is now sometimes banned because of its racist language. And indeed, the language is racist because the time being depicted was racist.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an example of a book that is better heard than read, provided a skilled narrator is doing the out loud reading. An Explanatory note written by Mark Twain at the beginning of the book states the following:

'In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect, the extremest form of the backwoods South-Western dialect; the ordinary 'Pike-County' dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shading have not been done in a hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; but pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.'

The audio book edition I listened to was published by The Audio Partners and is narrated by Patrick Fraley. The differences in speech dialect are well done by Mr Fraley. I may have laughed more at Fraley's various versious of the rural dialects than I did at Twain's humor.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

Description of sounds in the night for a little boy alone:
'Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving.'

Description of life on a raft:
'It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened.' ......... 'We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.'

Description of being in a thunderstorm at night:
'... and next, when it was just about the bluest and blackest - fst! it was a bright as glory and you'd have a little glimpse of tree-tops a-plunging about, away off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you could see before; dark as sin again in a second, and now you'd hear the thunder let go with an awful crash and then go rumbling, grumbling, tumbling down the sky towards the underside of the world, like rolling empty barrels downstairs, where it's long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know.

Description of the effect of music during a religious revival camp meeting:
'Music is a good thing; and after all that soul-butter and hogwash I never see it freshen up things so, and sound so honest and bully.'

Explanation for the unethical behavior of a con artist who claims royal lineage:
'All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's the way they're raised.'

The thoughts of Huck on being told by a young girl that she will pray for him: 'Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she'd take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same--she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the notion--there warn't no back-down to her, I judge.' ..... 'I hain't ever seen her since that time that I see her go out of that door; no, I hain't ever seen her since, but I reckon I've thought of her a many and a many a million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I'd a thought it would do any good for me to pray for HER, blamed if I wouldn't a done it or bust.'

Huck's anguish with his conscience for committing the sin of helping a runaway slave:
'... a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes for him anyway ...' '....All right, then, I'll go to hell.'

The explanation for Jim's willingness to go along with Tom's crazy ideas:
'Jim he couldn't see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed we was white folks and knowed better than him;'
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
The introduction to the Norton Critical Edition notes: "Originally, Huck's adventures were banned from public libraries and schools for being crude and using bad grammar. Now the issue is racism." In putting the criticisms in context and modern responses to it, I found the Norton Critical Edition valuable, particularly the essays by Jane Smiley, who compares the novel unfavorably to Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; Toni Morrison, who calls the book "amazing" despite feeling Jim is presented as "minstrelized" and a "buffoon" and David L. Smith, who points out how it is precisely through Jim's very characterization that Twain subtlety subverts the racist stereotypes of his time. The book does make for uncomfortable reading for a contemporary reader. The introduction notes the word "nigger" is used over 200 times. By itself, I don't think that should bother people. I've stopped reading books that fling racial epithets more sparingly than Twain's book. It was a major reason I couldn't take reading more of Guthrie's Big Sky--I felt so assaulted by it. But it's a word used frequently after all by African American authors such as Toni Morrison herself. It's appropriate in a book presented as written in the first person by the barely literate child of the town drunk in the Antebellum South. And I think something about Huck's innocence and Twain's satiric purpose and cynicism bubbling in the subtext cut a lot of the offensiveness for me. Of course, the charges of racism go beyond the use of a particular word. However, I think those who decry the work as racist forget Huck's role as an "unreliable narrator" as well as the use of irony. I agree with Smith that Huck's depiction of Jim shouldn't be taken at face value. And Smith picks out this passage in particular:

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"
"No'm. Killed a nigger."
"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt."

Anyone who can't see the savage satire and swat at racism in that.... Well, I have a friend who tried Huckleberry Finn as a child and said she was immediately turned off because it was so racist. Naturally. I'm surprised anyone could see Huckleberry Finn as a children's book. Children are notoriously literal-minded, and tend not to appreciate irony. I'd think adults would know better, but I've known people who think it offensive to use humor in serious matters despite its long history in works of political dissent. I remember one person who said they were offended greatly by All in the Family because it had people laughing at racism. Smiley accuses Huckleberry Finn of not being a "serious" book--she prefers the way Stowe handles issues of race, despite conceding Stowe also embraces some racial stereotypes. I recently read Uncle Tom's Cabin, and I do think the book is greatly underrated and misrepresented (among other things, Uncle Tom is no Uncle Tom). Uncle Tom's Cabin is indeed a very serious book--it's also at times cloyingly sentimental and unbearably preachy and the prose stiff and formal. And Huck is a much more convincing portrait of a child than "Little Eva" who seemed born a saint. Huck's moral growth is a lot more difficult, conflicted and subtle, and to me therefore a lot more moving and real.

I do prefer the style of Huckleberry Finn--the way Twain masterfully uses the vernacular and a fourteen-year-old narrator to examine the corrupt and hypocritical ways of adults and their "civilization." The depiction of Huck's abuse by his father is all the more heart-breaking for Huck's absolute lack of self-pity. Through that adolescent voice Twain manages to give you a sense of the magic and majesty of the Mississippi River, and I'll take the book's "bad grammar" over the formal, stiff prose of the British and Continental literature then being written--even if some of the eccentric spellings and use of dialect can make some parts tough going. Beyond the critique of racism, the book is a sharp and general critique of Southern culture. I found telling one note in the Norton Critical Edition that mentioned Twain's hatred of Scott's Ivanhoe and how he felt "the Sir Walter Scott disease" infesting the South with its "sham chivalries" helped incite the American Civil War. That made sense for me of the role of the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, the characters of the "King" and the "Duke" and maybe even Tom Sawyer's fantastic schemes. Think of Huckleberry Finn as the ultimate anti-Gone With the Wind. The book is not perfect, and I think the eleven chapter Tom Sawyer episode at the end is strung along far too long, but I'm more of Smith's and Morrison's opinion than that of Ms Smiley--for the most part, an amazing book--docked a star for that much-criticized ending--and because at times Jim does strike me as buffoonish.
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LibraryThing member KateGraves
What can I say about Huckleberry Finn? I know this is a classic, and I know just about everyone loves this book; I’m just not one of them. That’s not to say I hated it, I just didn’t love it, I was somewhere inbetween. Among the things I did like was Huck’s innocence. They way he saw the world through a childs eyes, mainly because he was a child, but it was refreshing to read about such a pure character. I especially loved in the beginning, when he and Tom Sawyer and all the other boys started that gang and were running around pretending they saw elephants and jewelry. I just loved the fact that they were little boys being little boys. It reminded me a lot for some reason of peter pan. All these little boys having adventures. It was cute, even if they were pretending that they were killing and stealing from people.
However, one of the things that annoyed me and gave me a some trouble, and I’m sure gave most everyone in the class trouble too. Was reading Jim’s lines. I would read it and then I wouldn’t know what he had just said because I was too busy trying to sound out what he was saying. It did get a little easier after a while because I figured out not to look too closely to what he said and that made it easier to understand. But all in all I did not like it when Jim was talking.
Another aspect about the story Huckleberry Finn that I didn’t like was when, for example, he and Jim were on Jackson’s Island and they found that house with the dead man inside it and they took about everything they could find. Now what annoyed me is that the book tells you everything that they took, not just the things that are important to the continuation of the story, but everything. It says on page 44, “We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher knife without any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any store, and a lot of talow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bed quilt off the bed, and a reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons….”And I’ll just stop there because this goes on for while. But my point is, I’m really only interested in the things that have some importance to the story line; the things I need to know. So I think that Mark Twain could have left a lot of that stuff out, and let the reader fill in the holes.
There is one line that I found that I would like to point out because it was probably my favorite. It’s said by the duke on page 103, “Let the cold world do it’s worst; one thing I know-there’s a grave somewhere for me. The world may go on just as its always done, and take everything from me-loved ones, property, everything-but it can’t take that.” I like this quote because it’s kind of comforting. I know it’s also a little morbid. But the thought that no matter what, everything will be okay. That you will always have some place safe to land when you fall. Some place to lay your head. It’s just a nice thought, even if it is talking about death.
So in the end, I can understand why this is a classic. I’m not sure how to put it into words, it just seems like the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by someone with a deep understanding of life. And I that that is what people respond to when they read this novel.
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LibraryThing member BeauxArts79
I love, love, love this book. The humor, the sincerity, the narrative voice. Exceptional. That being said, I struggled with that fifth star. Something about the word "nigger," no matter how eloquent and well-executed its context, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Intellectually, though, I can appreciate some of what Twain is doing, here. He doesn't patronize his reader by creating in Huck Finn an overly sympathetic character infused with the author's own socio-political pathos. Huck isn't the poster-child for abolitionist propaganda, but a still-burgeoning personality trying to define its own moral good. In fact, it is simply brilliant that Twain ironically reverses Huck's ethical conflict, depicting his reluctance to STEAL a slave from slavery because theft is a sin, and his ultimate decision to toss himself entirely into "wickedness." We love Huck precisely because he wants so badly to do the right thing, whatever that might be.

The scene in which Jim laments his estranged wife and children is particularly moving, for Twain takes care to depict his humanity, though Huck himself is ambivalent about his friend's grief; that's very clever writing.

Michiko Kakutani wrote a very interesting piece in the New York Times about some politically correct editions of the text; the word "nigger" has been replaced with something more palatable for contemporary readers, but with all due respect, completely unrealistic for the novel's characters. Kakutani explains that "'Huckleberry Finn' actually stands as a powerful indictment of slavery (with Nigger Jim its most noble character)" and that censoring the original removes the possibility "of using its contested language as an opportunity to explore the painful complexities of race relations in this country. To censor or redact books on school reading lists is a form of denial: shutting the door on harsh historical realities — whitewashing them or pretending they do not exist." I am a fierce opponent of censorship and could not agree more. Hence, that inexorable little fifth star.
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LibraryThing member renee.sutter
This novel is about a young boy, Huck, in search of adventure. He travels the shores of the Mississippi River. Huck is kidnapped by Pap, his drunken father. Pap kidnaps Huck because he wants Huck's $6000. Huck was awarded $6000 from the treasure he and Tom Sawyer found. Huck escapes from a deserted house in the woods and finds a canoe to paddle down the river. Instead of going back to the widow's house, he decides to run away. He finds Jim, a slave, and together, they spend nights and days journeying down the river searching for freedom. Through all of the adventures down the river, Huck learns a variety of life lessons. I love this book I read it several times growing up and had a lot of fun reading it as an adult. I love the humor and the adventure. I think one theme I would address if I used this in the classroom would be Humanity. One example is Huck starts to feel guilty that he is helping free Miss Watson's slave. He says that he thinks he is mean and he doesn't think that she deserves to have her slave stolen. After all, she never did anything to him. Another example of humanity is when Huck sees the King and the Duke tarred and feathered, even though he hates them and thinks they are awful people, he can't help but to feel bad for them. It makes him sick how people can be so cruel to one another.… (more)
LibraryThing member kattepusen
I had previously only read this novel in a translated version (Norwegian), and after reading it in "proper English" I am quite amazed about what gets lost in translation... Among the major strengths of this adventure tale is its language, which, I must admit, also made it quite strenuous to read at times. I often had to read out loud various passages in order to understand them. In retrospect, just for this very reason, this might have been a good book to listen to on tape to fully appreciate the proper pronounciations.

This classic coming-of-age story is quite good, and the characters stay with you long after the book is finished. I especially enjoyed all the delightful superstitions that Twain weaves into his characters - among the black folks as well as the white. Also, the tender relationship between Huck and Jim is delightful reading.

As a sidenote, the version I was reading did not have a map and I quickly came to miss the ability to visualize the locations that were described along the Mississippi. I eventually found a different copy of the book (an abridged version, nonetheless - ugh!) which had a map that clearly showed all the action. Afterwards, I had a much better appreciation for the geographical nuances...

I am glad this is a required high school text - its themes are still highly relevant, and it has the potential to start great debates about race relations - then as well as now. I almost wish that I could have read it as part of a class. This is the kind of literature (kind of like Shakespeare) that I would be able to appreciate even more if I could pause at regular intervals with some class-room discussion. However, even if you are battling it alone, it is well worth the effort.

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LibraryThing member fotenosfamily
Huck Finn is about Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Jim. Huck Finn likes to lie, and so does Tom Saywer. Huckleberry Finn likes to lie because he needs to help himself, and Tom Sawyer likes to lie with drama. Huck Finn in one part dressed up as a girl, and there were lots of exciting parts. My favorite part was when Huckleberry Finn and his dad, Pap, were in his cabin across the Mississippi River, and they were up to a lot. And I have another favorite part, when Jim and Huckleberry found Paps cabin and Pap was dead. There was a King and a Duke, who were frauds, and we don't actually know if they were a King and a Duke because they were frauds.

What I liked about the book: My Dad read this book before me. I like the word Huckleberry because I like the ice cream. It's a long book. The way my Dad read it to me was funny - the language, especially Jim's.

What I didn't like about the book: I liked all of the parts.

-by Naomi Fotenos on Feb 28, 2009 (age 6)
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LibraryThing member RebeccaGraf
There are many classics that become icons of cultures and periods. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of those books. Mark Twain is an entertaining part of American history.

Most people who have been raised in America know at least Huck Finn’s name. He is known for his escapades in early America and his friendship with the well-known Tom Sawyer. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve seen the movie. That might be a bad thing.

How can that be bad? Because if you only watch the movies and then years later read the book, you’ll be very disappointed in what you read.

The movies are so different than the book is. Yes, there are many movies, but the majority veer far from Twain’s original works.

It also doesn’t help that I am mostly used to contemporary writing which is much different that of the writings of the 1800s and earlier. The works are more description of scenes and actions than we are used to today. The style is vastly different. In fact, you might it difficult to read because of that.

You might also find it difficult to read where the dialogue is written exactly the way it was spoken. When the slave, Jim, speaks, it is not in formal English. It is written as he spoke it. In reading these parts, you might want to read it aloud so you can hear what he said instead of reading it.

I also found reading of Huck and Tom’s actions rather difficult. I don’t see boys of their age really acting that way, but that is how Twain wanted them to be. I really think the movies ruined it for me. Though I still enjoy Twain’s short stories. Maybe that is where I need to stay with him.

Please be aware if you have your children read the book for school. Throughout the book, the ‘n’ word is used. It was a part of the culture’s everyday language which makes it important to use in the story. You might want to explain the use of the word then versus now before reading the book.

Note: This was a free copy obtained through a public domain venue.
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LibraryThing member wildbill
I have always enjoyed the humor of Mark Twain but have only read two of his novels.
I had started this book a few times but never got interested in it and put it down. This time I started by listening to an audio version and finished it by going back and forth between audio and print.
I enjoyed the book very much. It was originally an adventure story for young adults and now it is a classic of American historical fiction showing warts and all what this country was like.
Reading the book helped me to appreciate how important the Mississippi River was in shaping the lives of millions of Americans since that area was settled. The river is a focal point for the action in the book and the lives of the characters in the book are intertwined together around the river. For me one of the most pleasant scenes in the book was Huck and Jim on the raft floating down the river at night looking up at the stars.
The characters in the book are a cross sample of the people who lived beside and traveled on the river in that time period. Miss Watson, Aunt Polly and the Judge are examples of upright solid citizens and on the other end of the spectrum are Huck's Pap and the King and the Duke. Huckleberry Finn was my favorite character. Huck seemed pretty smart, a good friend, mostly honest and always trying to do the right thing if he could. The more I read about him the more complex and likable I found him.
I don't think that Tom Sawyer holds a candle to Huck. Tom is well meaning but he gets real silly at times and everything in his world seems all about him and his crazy ideas.
The author does an excellent job of making the reader a participant in Huck's adventures. The writing is clear and concise and the varied dialects add spice to the story. The main story is about Huck and Jim running away from Huck's Pap and Miss Watson. As this is proceeding there are various sidetracks that keep the story moving well. I was never sure how things would work out until the end but I always had a feeling from the author's tone in telling the story that all of the dangers would be overcome. The last adventure which is a Tom Sawyer special is a real hoot that gets funnier the more I think about it.
Jim was portrayed as a good person but his character, the fact that he was a slave and always referred to as a nigger brought out the ugliness of racism in America. Jim was very childlike in his speech and his thoughts. An important aspect of American racism was that African-Americans didn't have the abilities of whites and needed to be taken care of. I grew up in an era when the word nigger was still used and I had to teach myself not to use it. Even when I hear it used by black people it is a derogatory term with offensive connotations. The worst part is that I cannot say that the author goes out of his way to be offensive or that his portrayal is not accurate. That is the way things were and I sometimes wonder if all the death and destruction of the Civil War wasn't the price that was paid for the shame of it all.
All seriousness aside I thought this was a really good book and one I would consider to have the necessary attributes of a classic. There was adventure, joy, suspense and a happy ending. I look forward to reading some more of Mr. Twain's novels and reading this book again.
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LibraryThing member otterley
What can a grown up reader say about finding this book for the first time at over 40? That it's vivid, picturesque, fun, thought provoking, wild, savage and brutal, and a song of praise to the warmth and strength of the human spirit. And that it's never to late to discover new pleasures...
LibraryThing member digikata
Had to read this long long ago as a high school assignment. Rereading it is much more meaningful now than then.
LibraryThing member jawalter

What is there to say? It's my favorite novel. Funny and profound and moving; It's almost hard to read because it spins my thoughts and imagination in all different directions on almost every page.

I suppose you could take something different from it every time you pick it up, but for me, it's about recognizing that everyone has the power to shape their beliefs to meet the world they encounter. As Huck travels down the river, he keeps adopting and discarding the belief systems he encounters until he finally realizes that it's up to him to decide what's right and what's wrong. That he's unable to stick to his guns is what makes this both a tragic work and a profoundly real one.

Huck, the boy, is the man I aspire to be. Smart, despite not being educated; wise, yet not without flaws. It's a good day when I recognize his cadences in my thoughts.
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LibraryThing member figre
How do you go for over 50 years without reading a classic? Not sure, but I accomplished it. And it was only after being shamed about that fact (on a web page, no less) that I dove in. Of course, it is ludicrous to try and do just a normal review – there is too much history, too much baggage. But I refuse to work on analysis. Here’s the most important part. It is a good read and a fun read. It takes a little while to get going but, once Huck and Jim hit the river, the whole things takes off. The peak – when the story is at its best is during the telling of the experiences with the Duke and King. Then things begin to meander a bit at the end as Tom shows up and the book goes into an almost improvisational mood. But it is still all a good tale, and there is definite depth to the characters – depth and growth.

And as to the language, it’s not that tough. Yes, when Jim goes into his dialect you have to read a little slower. But all the other dialects flow, and there is a music to the way it is written.

Many trumpet this as America’s greatest novel. A bit over the top to my mind, but a good tale worth the telling and worth the reading.
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LibraryThing member dezirae15
To everyone else this book was amazing. I just didnot like this book. It did have a few good points but their was to much going on for me to be intrested.
LibraryThing member booksfordeb
The dialect in this book can make it difficult for modern readers and especially teenagers to read. The book is classic Twain. Reading this book helps one to realize the ignorance of prejudice. The characters are fun and memorable. There is much to be learned from the situations and actions of the many characters portrayed.
LibraryThing member akrauss
This was my first summer reading experience having to read a well known adventure novel. Mark Twain was a name you held next to Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, and Charles Dickens. I could understand why we were being asked to read this book to learn about American Literature, anyone who read Huckleberry Finn could see it was something great. Though I enjoyed reading it and found little dissatisfying about it, reading it once was enough.
Throughout the beginning chapters of Huckleberry Finn I was identifying and sympathizing with Huck's character, and I was falling in love with Mark Twain's writing.
"Then I set down in a chair by the window and tried to think of something cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars was shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me and I couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's easy in its grave and has to go about that way every night grieving. I got so down-hearted and scared; I did wish I had some company."
Huck was a character with an unfortunate story in the beginning. His father was a greasy drunk, and when we first ran into his character he was begging his son, Huck for all the money out of his pocket because he hadn't had a drink all day. We later found out that this was in character for Huck's father, and to be expected. Surprisingly Huck and his father had such a strong bond towards each other, and loyalty. Huck didn't want to be his father, but he didn't want the civilized life the widows had. Huck identified with his father's carefree attitude, and day to day living with a lack of routine.
I sympathized with Huck's character but there were points in the story where I got frustrated with him too. Once we were introduced to Tom Sawyer in the story I began to enjoy his character, and became aggravated with Huck's. I felt Huck had a resistance towards joining the band of robbers. Eventually the Tom Sawyer's band of robbers came to an end because they weren't really robbing but only pretending. Tom Sawyer's imagination dazzled me.
There was a scene in the book where Tom had wrangled up his crew of robbers to Cave Hollow where he had heard a secret from his spies about Spanish merchants, camels, elephants, genies and of course treasure but Huck could only see what it really was and that was a Sunday school picnic. Huck had no imagination, he was unwilling to see what Tom saw, and believed that is was all lies. I became more interested in Tom Sawyer's character then the main character of my own book.
Another theme tested in this book was slavery. Miss Watson's slave Jim was a character Mark Twain brought to life. Jim's dialect is what brought him to life more than anything else. Seeing Jim and Huck's relationship was something I enjoyed reading the most. In the beginning of the book Huck's father had an unsettling feeling about African Americans, their rights, and African Americans eventually gaining the right to vote. I was surprised at Huck's ease when he found himself running into situations with African Americans. Even when opportunity presented itself and Huck could have been rewarded 300 dollars for the return of Jim to his owner Miss Watson, Jim wasn't defined by his skin color, he was a friend. When Huck was given a slave when he was staying with Colonel Grangerford to wait on him he didn't know what to do with him. Huck was always more inclined to be friends to African Americans, a characteristic I admired in Huck.
I constantly procrastinated about reading Huckleberry Finn, like a lot of my summer reads I am never inclined to start reading them. The adventure Mark Twain took me on with Huck Finn and Jim was one I came to enjoy. I never thought I would find myself so attached to two characters. I may even be so inclined to read Tom Saywer.
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LibraryThing member ldsmith1031
I could read this book once a year for the rest of my life. I think it may be my absolute favorite.
LibraryThing member chellerystick
After a few months vivisecting Huck Finn using various types of literary theory in my tenth grade English class, I don't think there is much I can add. But I can say I read it when I was ten, and it was a fun adventure; I read it when I was fifteen, and it was rich in symbolism; and reading it as an adult it is a relevant delight. It grows with us and with our society.

A must-have.
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LibraryThing member silverwing2332
A classic piece of literature. Do not let the fact that this book is read in schools dissuade you from either reading or enjoying this book.
I suggest picking up this book, but not just be prepared to read it. In order to fully enjoy this book, it must be analyzed. Otherwise, the full impact of the novel will be lost on you, that's what separates this book from being just a dull book and being a commentary on the southern lifestyle.… (more)
LibraryThing member ErnestHemingway
“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. If you read it you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating. But it’s the best book we’ve had. All American writing come from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."
Green Hills of Africa, pg. 22
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LibraryThing member HollyinNNV
I truly enjoyed reading HF for the second time. I first read it in high school. However, I found it more compelling and humorous as an adult reader. Painting a vivid picture of all of the quirky characters, Twain brings such an air of authenticity to his story. Huckleberry is my favorite character. When he attempted to logically make decisions, I had to laugh because I could see my son thinking in the same way. But I especially appreciated the way Twain shows the conflict in Huck’s mind over the issue of slavery. It feels authentic.… (more)
LibraryThing member gaturbev
Great book except for the last third where Tom Sawyer came back into the plot. For me the best of the book ended in Chapter 31 with Huck's final maturing:

I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

"All right, then, I'll GO to hell" — and tore it up.

It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.
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LibraryThing member browner56
Over the years, I have occasionally thought about what qualifies a book to be elevated to the status as “The Great American Novel,” as mythical (and unofficial) as that title may be. Certainly, it seems that such a work should capture the attitudes and beliefs of the particular period in the United States it depicts as well as convey a sense of the cultural values that define those times. Of course, as those values and beliefs change over time, so too should the list of books that qualify as TGAN. Whatever one’s particular definition might be, however, I suspect that somewhere near the front end of a lot of people’s lists will be Mark Twain’s masterpiece Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The regard for this novel remains considerable more than 130 years after its publication, both for its historical significance and the continuing relevance of its humor and strong anti-racism message. Indeed, Ernest Hemingway said “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…there has been nothing as good since” while Eugene O’Neill called the author himself “the true father of all American literature.” Much of that regard must have come from Twain’s remarkable use of multiple ethnic and regional dialects throughout the novel, which helped to distinguish the newly emerging American literary tradition from its European roots. For instance, here is the way Huck describes some of his time on the raft with Jim, the runaway slave:

We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often that we laughed—only a little kind of a low chuckle. We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all—that night, nor the next, nor the next.

For all of that, though, it is hard to discuss Adventures of Huckleberry Finn without addressing the author’s frequent and almost profligate use of a certain expression that has come to be regarded as a highly charged racial epithet (let’s call it the “n-word” and just leave it at that). In the context of the story, it is abundantly clear that this term was used as a synonym for ‘slave’ rather than as a slur with any deeper intended meaning. Still, it is an extremely uncomfortable experience for the modern reader to encounter that word under any circumstance and, quite frankly, it was something I never really got used to. Of course, the irony is that the entire novel is a marvelous satire of the hypocrisy of prevailing racial attitudes and a strong indictment of the institution of slavery.

One thing that is easily lost in all of these high-minded considerations is the question of whether this is an enjoyable book to read. For most of the story, it definitely is. Huck Finn is a truly unique character in literature and his adventures, which vacillate between being hilarious or harrowing, are almost always engaging. In particular, the encounters that Huck and Jim have while floating their way south on the Mississippi are memorable and exciting; only the last segment of the book when Tom Sawyer shows up felt like a bit of a false note to me. I have no idea what the current TGAN might be, but after reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I know where that list began.
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LibraryThing member kvrfan
I think I was intimidated from reading Huckleberry Finn earlier in my life because it has too many times been designated "the great American novel." I had no idea how much fun it was!

I may have benefited from the fact that I did this as an audio book, and the reader was gifted in doing all the dialects of the characters which may have been thick on printed page. It was like being in the room with a great raconteur--which, of course, is exactly what Mark Twain was.

WARNING: Huckleberry Finn has been banned by some schools because of its liberal use of the "N" word to refer to African-Americans. And sometimes the use of the word feels pretty overwhelming. Furthermore, although embedded in the book is the understanding that humanity transcends skin color, the way blacks are portrayed is not enlightened, looked at through a 21st-century lens, But if some leeway can be granted, given the cultural consciousness of the time of its writing, there much to delight in here.
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