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A lifelong friendship with Huckleberry Finn

  • Jun 17, 2010

I return to this novel again and again. It’s a coming-of-age story, an adventure story, a comedy, a drama, a biting social commentary, and just a great read. The fact that it can be read and argued about more than a century after its publication proves its worth. Mark Twain creates an iconic character in Huck, an unlikely and often unwilling hero, whose journey takes him not only down the Mississippi River but also toward a growing awareness of the world. Much of the controversy over the book revolves around its attitudes toward race. Huck, the young and uneducated narrator, is a product of his times. He accepts the way life is in the antebellum South because that’s the way it is; he doesn’t think to question it. At first. But the people he meets on his travels—including members of a feuding Southern aristocratic family and a couple of con men who entangle Huck in a scheme to cheat three young women out of their inheritance—force him to question the world around him. And his growing friendship with Jim, the runaway slave who shares his raft, forces him to question his own beliefs. Huck’s ongoing battle with his own conscience is both touching and humorous: “Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on; s’pose you’d ’a’ done right and give Jim up, would you felt better than what you do now? No, says I, I’d feel bad—I’d feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?” Twain’s use of dialect can be challenging at first, especially for younger readers, but the story is worth the effort. I think everyone should read this book, even though I’ve read it enough for the population of a small town.

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February 06, 2012
Huck Finn is one of my favorite classics. Great write-up!
More The Adventures of Huckleberry ... reviews
review by . November 16, 2010
   Not only is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a brilliant and funny story of an adolescent boy, it is the story of an adolescent nation: the United States circa 1885. It raises broad, moral questions whose answers still elude us today, as it addresses the question of slavery in terms that are deeply personal, moral, political, social and economic.      Through Huck and the fugitive slave Jim, Twain looks at important issues of marginality, not just for people of …
Quick Tip by . April 12, 2011
One of Mark Twain's greatest books and an extremely enjoyable read. It is a very humorous and great adventure story.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
Another book everyone should read. It teaches a lesson about family, hard work. and friendship.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Excellent adventure story for any age. Huck Finn is quite the character. Lots of humor.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Of course, Twain (Clemens) is the quintessential American author. Whereas many who were born in America but still wrote from an English perspective, he developed an American style that was separate from any other influence.
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
such a classic! I enjoyed reading it
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
one of the great American Authors!
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
A great story of friendship and adventure. Brings back memories of a younger me.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
could never get into this as much as it is hailed such a classic.
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Always a classic
About the reviewer
Sam Sherman ()
Ranked #1185
My interests are about as eclectic as the contents of the typical "junk drawer." I'm a writer, so obviously I like writing and reading. And movies. And theater. I also like history and the … more
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About this book


Like its popular predecessor, this critical edition is designed for "teaching the conflicts" surrounding Mark Twain’s classic novel. It reprints the 1885 text of the first American edition (with a portfolio of illustrations) along with critical essays representing major critical and cultural controversies surrounding the work. The novel and essays are supported by distinctive editorial material — including introductions to critical conflict in literary studies, to Twain’s life and work, and to each critical controversy highlighted in this edition — that helps students grapple not only with the novel’s critical issues but also with cultural debates about literature itself. In addition to several new critical essays, the second edition includes an appendix on how to argue about the novel so that students may more effectively enter the critical conversation about its issues.
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ISBN-10: 0312400292
ISBN-13: 978-0312400293
Editor: Gerald Graff;, James Phelan
Author: Mark Twain
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Format: Paperback
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