Monday, February 14, 2011

Discussion questions Huckleberry Finn

1. The Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson, are both trying to “sivilize” Huck. Compare and contrast their attitudes toward Huck. What method does each one use in her efforts to turn him into a “respectable” citizen? How do those methods differ? How are they the same? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Analyze the scene where Huck flips the spider into the candle. Why does he feel that this would bring him bad luck? How does this scene foreshadow superstition in the novel? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
3. Twain chooses a 13-year-old boy as narrator for his novel. In what way does this help to accomplish Twain’s purpose? Discuss the ways in which a young, innocent narrator can make a profound statement about the hypocrisy of his society. Explain your answer.
Chapters 2-3
1. Although Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are presented as contrasting characters in the novel, they are alike in many ways. Compare and contrast the characters of Huck and Tom, giving examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Analyze Jim’s idea that he has been ridden around the world by witches. Why was he proud? Were the slaves the only ones who believed Jim’s story? Does Huck believe it? Explain your answer.
3. Analyze the role of respectability in Tom Sawyer’s supposedly lawless gang. Why is it mandatory for each member to have a respectable family? Examine the idea that Huck, who has had more experience with breaking the law than any of the others, comes close to being excluded from the gang.
Chapters 4-5
1. Superstition is a recurring theme in the novel. Analyze Twain’s satiric treatment of the hairball scene. Examine the answers Huck receives about his life. How does Jim keep the hairball’s comments believable?
2. Analyze the relationship of Huck and his father. In what ways was he different from the ideal? How did this influence Huck’s feelings about society as a whole? Explain your reasoning.
3. Analyze Judge Thatcher’s reactions to Huck’s request to take his money. Why did the judge exchange one dollar for six-thousand dollars? Was he cheating Huck? Explain your answer.
Chapters 6-7
1. Huck seems to adapt to almost any situation. He has become accustomed to civilized life with the Widow Douglas. Later he finds life in the woods carefree and easy. Analyze the character of Huck. Discuss possible reasons for his adaptability to different situations. Use examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. In the novel Pap does not appear to be a civilized man. Discuss ways in which he does, however, fit into the larger society. Does he compare to the Widow Douglas in any way? Explain your answer.
3. Huck wishes Tom Sawyer were with him to add some “fancy touches” to his plan of escape. Discuss the difference between Huck’s scheme of faking his death and the attack on the “A-rabs” and “Spaniards” in Chapter 3. Cite examples from the novel to support your ideas.
Chapters 8-9
1. Huck’s most poetic language is prompted by a severe thunderstorm on the island. Discuss the reasons for this. In what way does the storm inspire him? Why is he not afraid of the storm? Use examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. If Huck keeps Jim’s secret of his escape, people will call him a “low-down Abolitionist.” In what way are those words more effective when spoken by a young narrator? Explain the irony in Huck’s statement. What is Twain’s message about the hypocritical values of his society? Explain your answer with examples from the novel.
3. Miss Watson could sell Jim for eight hundred dollars. He, therefore, feels rich because he owns himself. Explain Twain’s use of satire in Jim’s statement . What was Twain’s attitude toward slavery in this passage? Explain your answer.
Chapters 10-11
1. Huck’s growing concern for Jim’s welfare is evident in many ways. Discuss the events where this concern is reflected in Huck’s behavior. In what ways does he protect Jim from danger? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Huck’s ability to tell a story in order to get himself out of a “tight” situation is one of his greatest strengths. How does this apply to his encounter with Mrs. Judith Loftus? What does he do when she realizes he is a boy? Explain your answer.
3. When Huck curls up the snake at the foot of Jim’s blanket, he does not tell Jim that he has done it. What is his reason for keeping his little joke a secret? What lesson does Huck learn from it? How would Jim have felt if Huck would have told the truth? Discuss your answer.
Chapters 12-13
1. Huck’s journey on the river is filled with adventures, but it is also a symbolic journey. What does his journey symbolize? How does his relationship with Jim tie in to the symbolism? Compare the symbolism of the shore to that of the river. Use examples from the novel to support your view.
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is often referred to as the embodiment of mythological characteristics. In what way does the journey down the river represent these characteristics? How is Huck’s escape from society and his love for the natural world of the river incorporated into this idea? Explain your answer.
3. Twain uses satire to expose people’s ability to rationalize their wrongdoings. In what way does Twain employ that device in the incident where Huck “lifts chickens” and “borrows watermelons”? What do the words “lifts” and “borrows” connote? Give examples from the novel to support your argument.
Chapters 14-15
1. The relationship between Huck and Jim is brought into focus in these chapters. How does their frightening separation in the fog draw them closer together? How do they feel about each other at this point in the novel? Give examples from the novel to support your viewpoint.
2. Huck and Jim carry on a lengthy conversation about royalty. In what way does Twain satirize royalty in these chapters? What is Jim’s opinion of King Solomon? Why does he feel that way? Give examples from the novel to support your argument.
Chapters 16-17
1. Huck makes a moral decision concerning Jim’s freedom in Chapter 16. How does this decision affect Huck as a character in the novel? Discuss the first time in the novel that he made a decision to help Jim escape to freedom. How did the decision affect him then? Cite examples from the novel to support your view.
2. There is irony in the statement Jim makes about stealing his children. In what way is it ironic that Jim’s children belong to someone else? Why did Huck feel it was morally wrong for Jim to claim his children as his own? Give examples from the novel to support your argument.
3. Critics believe Twain stopped writing the novel for a few years after he finished Chapter 16. Why would this have been a difficult place for Twain to continue? How does the setting of the novel change at this point? Explain your answer.
Chapters 18-19
1. Harney Shepherdson and Miss Sophia are victims of the feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons. Compare and contrast their conflict with that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In what way was their situation the same? How was it different? Was Huck sympathetic with the young couple? Give examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Twain employs satire throughout the novel to speak out against the hypocrisy and corruption in his society. In what way is the church service, attended by the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, an attack on the religion of Twain’s day? How does the hog incident add to the satire? Explain your answer.
3. In these chapters life on the raft is contrasted sharply with the violence and bloodshed Huck has recently encountered on the shore. How does this contrast bring out the theme of freedom in the novel? How does Huck feel about life on the raft? How does Jim feel? Use examples from the novel to support your viewpoint.
Chapters 20-21
1. In the novel Huck continually tells stories to get himself out of tight situations. Why doesn’t this bother Huck’s conscience? In what way is Huck forced to tell a lie? Is Huck morally wrong in doing so? Defend your argument with examples from the novel.
2. It is during a natural phenomenon such as a thunderstorm that Huck uses his most artistic language. Discuss Huck’s feeling about the thunderstorm. Why is he not afraid of the storm? How does this symbolize his life on the river as opposed to life on the shore? Explain your answer.
3. There are many examples of gullibility in the novel. In what way does Twain satirize the gullibility of the people at the camp meeting? How does the king trick them into taking up a collection? Why do they believe him? Support your argument.
Chapters 22-23
1. Twain is satirizing the lynch mob in these chapters. In what way can the individuals in a mob be seen as cowards? Discuss the psychology of a lynch mob. Why is Sherburn successful in breaking up the mob? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Through the characters of the duke and the king, Twain is satirizing royalty. What qualities in a king would make him a “rapscallion?” How does Huck’s reference to kings throughout history prove his point? Explain your answer.
3. The relationship between Huck and Jim is growing deeper as the novel progresses. How is Jim’s humanity expressed through the eyes of Huck? How does Jim feel about Huck? How can Huck tell? Explain your answer.
Chapters 24-25
1. In these chapters Twain satirizes the gullibility of the townspeople who believe an imposter like the king, but, ironically, do not believe Dr. Robinson. Write an essay comparing the gullibility of the townspeople to people in today’s world. In what ways are people gullible? What makes them gullible? Explain your answer.
2. Huck has become more critical of the duke and the king than he was in preceding chapters. Why has this change taken place in his character? Explain Huck’s moral development as it relates to previous chapters in the novel. Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
3. The ultimate sacrifice in the eyes of the townspeople is when the king and the duke give the Wilks girls the whole six thousand dollars. Why do they give it away? What is their motive? What do they hope to gain? Support your argument with examples from the novel.
Chapters 26-27
1. The king and the duke have been involved in several fraudulent schemes along the river. Compare and contrast the Wilks episode to The Royal Nonesuch in the last town. Why does Huck take action against the frauds in the Wilks episode? Why was he merely an observer in The Royal Nonesuch? How do they compare? How are they different? Use examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. The two frauds have supposedly been duped through their sale of the slaves. In what way do the king and the duke judge the slaves by their own standards? In what way do they think the slaves have played a game in order to get away with the money? Defend your argument with examples from the novel.
3. The separation of families through the selling of slaves is a recurrent theme in the novel. What is Twain’s attitude about this controversial issue? Cite at least two examples from the novel that deal with the separation of families and point out the way in which Twain satirizes the issue.
Chapters 28-29
1. The novel is filled with examples of stories Huck tells when he is in a tight situation. In Chapter 28 he decides that truth is better than lies, however. Why does he have a change of heart in this chapter? How does Huck feel about Mary Jane? Does he trust her with the truth? Does he ever lie to her? Why does he depend on lies to get through difficult situations? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Throughout the course of the novel, Twain uses descriptions of thunderstorms. Compare and contrast the description of the thunderstorm in Chapter 29 with descriptions in other parts of the novel. How are they the same? How is this one different? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
3. Mary Jane is one of Huck’s favorite people in the novel. What qualities does she possess that makes Huck fond of her? How is she different from her sisters? Explain your answer.
Chapters 30-31
1. Huck makes his ultimate moral decision in Chapter 31 of the novel. What is Twain satirizing in this episode? Explain Huck’s natural morality as opposed to society’s morality. Use examples from the novel to support your answer.
2. Twain sheds a slightly different light on the duke in these chapters. What is different about the actions of the duke? How does this make us feel about him? Is the duke less evil than the king? Explain your answer.
3. Huck faces a moral decision to help Jim escape in three different epiodes of the novel. Explain each dilemma and describe how it affects Huck’s development as a character. Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
Chapters 32-33
1. Twain paints a bleak, depressing picture of the Phelps Plantation. Compare and contrast Huck’s view of life on the plantation to life on the raft. In what way is his view affected by his recent loss of Jim? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Huck is shocked when Tom Sawyer tells him he will help steal Jim out of slavery. What does Tom know about Jim and how does that affect his decision? How does Huck view Tom as a member of society? How does he view himself? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
3. Jim acts as an informant in the case of the king and duke’s Royal Nonesuch show. In what way is justice being done? Why do you think Jim is seen in a different light in this section of the novel? Do his actions seem believable? Defend your argument with examples from the novel.
Chapters 34-35
1. The contrasting personalities of Huck and Tom provide the reader with the satiric humor in these chapters. In what way do their personalities contrast? How are Tom’s romantic notions brought out in the plan to free Jim? How does Huck disagree? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Tom and Huck disagree on the idea of stealing and borrowing. What does Huck call borrowing? What does Tom consider stealing? When does Tom consider stealing all right? When is it wrong? Support your argument with quotes from the novel.
3. In this section of the novel Tom already knows that Jim has been freed by Miss Watson. In view of this fact, how do you interpret his actions in the plan of escape? Is Tom unusually cruel to Jim by making him wait unnecessarily? Why doesn’t he tell Huck and Jim? Explain your answer.
Chapters 36-37
1. Two different types of morality are demonstrated in the novel. Contrast Huck’s morality with Tom’s. How are they different? Explain the origins of each of the boys’ sense of morality? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Twain often satirizes the religious sensibilities of his day through the characters in the novel. In what way is he satirizing Uncle Silas’s prayers with Jim? Do you feel Uncle Silas is being kind to Jim? Why does Jim feel his kindness? Explain your answer.
Chapters 38-39
1. Jim is taken out of his prison to help Huck and Tom with the grindstone. In what way is this humorous incident ironic? Why does Jim go back to his prison? Why doesn’t he leave while he has the chance? Why don’t the boys help him to escape? Explain your answer.
2. Tom often prescribes cruel treatment for Jim in order to carry out his elaborate plan of escape. How does one account for his lack of sensitivity to Jim’s feelings? Is Tom a cruel person? How does Tom treat other people in the novel? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
3. Tom works on a coat of arms for Jim. Does he have sufficient knowledge of this subject? Is his knowledge limited? Why doesn’t he give Huck the definitions of “fess” and “bar sinister”? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
Chapters 40-41
1. Jim unselfishly gives up his freedom so they can get a doctor for Tom. Does this act seem consistent with Jim’s character? Why does he do it? Describe one other instance in the novel where Jim is unselfish. Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Tom is happy when they reach the raft in spite of the fact that he has a bullet in his leg. Why is he happy? Why doesn’t he want to see a doctor? What instructions does Tom give Huck about the doctor? How is this a part of Tom’s plan of escape? Explain your answer with examples from the novel.
3. Huck invents stories throughout the novel to get himself out of tight situations. Is Huck’s story to the doctor as believable as his stories have been in the past? Does the doctor doubt Huck? Are there any flaws in his story. Use examples from the novel to support your argument.
Chapters 42-43
1. Jim is often referred to as a noble character in the novel. In what way is his nobility shown in the last few chapters. How does he show courage by helping the doctor? Why does he do it? What price does he pay? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
2. The men who are attending to Jim want to hang him as an example to other slaves who might attempt to escape. Why do they decide against it? How does this incident satirize the morality of the men? Cite examples from the novel to explain your answer.
3. At the end of the novel Huck wants to escape so Aunt Sally will not try to “sivilize” him. How has the meaning of the word “sivilize” changed for Huck? In what way has Huck grown as a character in the novel? Give examples from the novel to support your argument.


  1. Posting for Michelle and Alex c:
    Don't know why I referred to myself in third person, but oh well! (And we definitely need to make a team name. Just because.)

    We didn't get very far into our discussion; pretty much only up to about Chapter 22 since we spent a lot of time trying to find specific examples in the book.

    We were able to talk about Twain's use of satire throughout the chapters we covered. The most "in your face" use of it was with the Grangerford/Shepherdson families, which were a parallel to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". If anything, this further supports the fact Twain was displeased with the Romantic writings of his time. In his eyes, the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets (or in this case, the aforementioned families Huck encounters), was irrational. Neither family could recall which side had started the feud, and could barely even remember when the feud started. (Arguably, it could be said that neither family even knew what the feud was about). Yet, both families continued to attend church; continued to pray to God as though they were absolutely free of any recorded sin. As Michelle said, this is Twain alluding to the reality that during this pre-Civil War time period, slave owners could not see past this veil of slaves being nothing more than property; they couldn't understand that what they were doing was morally wrong and, consequently, an injustice to the basic fundamental beliefs of Christianity. Again, Michelle (who should totes lend me her brain power once in a while), mentioned that this was a consequence of the Second Great Awakening, in which people were basically told that they could take the interpretation of religion into their own hands. This granted these slave owners the ability to justify themselves on any and all grounds that slavery was perfectly "moral" in society.

    It was due to this that we are able to get a feel for Huck's inner sense of turmoil (and one of Twain's main recurring ideas in the novel): How can society allow such immoral things and just brush them off as though there were no problem? Huck, initially, was conforming to this very society. He saw Jim as nothing more than the average, run of the mill slave. But once Jim became his sole companion in the river, once they were both on equal footing in life, Huck began to tear apart this shroud of ignorance and realize that this black man, who was nothing more than property to him months ago, was a living, breathing person much like himself. All Jim craved was freedom for both himself and his family, a need that Huck could empathize with himself. It was here, away from this hypocritical society, that Huck and Jim were able to become in tune with nature, which could possibly hint that Twain could agree with the ideas of Transcendentalist authors at the time; By focusing the lens of the US upon itself instead of upon the Romantic British views, it would be possible to create a distinct, American style which could help to shape the society into one that didn't contradict itself into one that sought to improve upon itself.

    If any of that makes any sense. :'D

  2. Posting for Emma Doeblin and Nadia Pierre-Louis (First post)

    Chapters 26-27
    1. In the Wilks episode, Huck is much more involved with the people that the King and the Duke are scamming. This allows him to get to know them, and, as is his way, grow fond of them. Henceforth, by becoming closer to them, he begins to appreciate that they are good people, and that what the King and the Duke are doing is cruel to them. Huck has always had, in our opinion, a strong moral compass, and this was just something, rather like Buck, that struck him particularly strongly.
    2. The Duke and the King are both pretty stupid, so it doesn't take much on behalf of Huck to place the blame of stealing the money on the slaves. It is the fact that the two men then proceed to say that they had suspected them all along, and that slaves were always up to such games; and now that they had been sold, they would get away, freely and easily, with the money.
    3. Twain obviously dislikes the idea, and accepts that many people didn't realize how prevalent it was during this time. Twain, in two instances, talks about how slaves are separated due to being sold or other problems. There is the family that belongs to the Wilks, who are not only being separated from each other, but from the Wilks sisters, who seem to have a strong connection with them as well. Then, there is of course Jim, who misses his wife and children very much, and whom Huck often sees crying and mourning over. Jim also says how when he gets enough money, he will buy his family so they can all be with him. This is probably the most powerful way that Twain shows connections of family.

  3. Emma Doeblin and Nadia Pierre-Louis Post 2

    Chapters 28-29
    1. Huck tells the truth to Mary Jane because he feels that she deserves it. Although most of the lies that he tells are harmless, he feels that this one has a little more importance. Furthermore, I think he is really struck by her kindness, and innocence, and goodness, traits that Huck has not come into much contact with and admires very much. He depends on lies earlier because it is the easiest way out of things for him, and he is scared about what the consequences will be if he tells the truth. However, there are some times that he lies because it is lie or lose his best friend or lie and lose his freedom.
    2. Huck seems to like thunderstorms. They must represent the reckless, untamed aspect of nature that he can't touch or hold. They are loud and pretentious, but also soothing to Huck, who seems to respond to them with happiness or acceptance.
    3. Mary Jane is honest and kind to Huck. He also describes her as being beautiful, which I think is important to him as well. Huck doesn't know many people that he can trust, and I think he almost sees her like an older sister or a mother. She trusts him and treats him like he wants to be-special. Furthermore, she makes and effort to talk to him like she does older people, which he really wants. Huck is still a boy, and although he likes to play tough, I think he really likes the soft, genuine side of Mary Jane that is very effeminate and treats him, as he would say, "right proper."
    Chapters 30-31
    1. Twain is satirizing the stupidity of how religion is being manipulated in this time period. Huck was never a particularly religious person, yet he still is effected by all that society has taught him is true and not true. His natural morality, however, is much stronger, and much better, than that of society's, and it is what directs him to tear up his letter to Miss Watson. Huck I don't think ever really considered Jim less than him; he personally saw him as a fellow person, even looked up to him. He was just grasping on to that one little bit of the world he came from by telling himself there was a difference-and when he says "Alright, I'll go to hell" that is him letting that last little bit go.
    2. The Duke is a jerk, just like the king, but he seems to realize for once that Huck is just a boy, and oughtn't be be treated so badly, and manipulated, much as the King is doing to him. The king is so self-involved that he takes no time to think about Huck, or Jim, and the Duke is showing that he is taking that time.
    3. It shows that Huck is winning out over society, no matter how hard its morals and views have been pounded into him. He loves his freedom so much, and he loves Jim so much, that he can't see the justice or the logic behind making him a slave; or anyone, for that matter. Huck is no longer impressionable, because he is making a decision for himself, and that in it of itself is a big character-changer.

  4. Sam, Gaelynn, Valerie, and Danielle.
    Chapter's 18 and 19:
    -The issues between the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords is similar in respects to Romeo and Juliet for they're both feuding families who are unaware of this sense of blind hatred towards one another. One could also state that one difference between the two is the fate between the two lovers. One can assume that the lovers of the novel are still alive, unlike Romeo and Juliet who suffered the fate of a tragic hero.
    -Twain demonstrates the hypocrisy and the corruption within his society through the incident where the two feuding families bring their rifles to church with them. Both parties try to maintain some sort of family honor and refuse to let other interfere.
    -While being on the raft, Huck and Jim feel free from the shackles society has bestowed upon them. Being on a raft can be viewed as being an open room; the walls have fallen down and there is nothing keeping them locked inside anymore, like they'd felt being apart of society. There are no boundaries any longer.

    Chapters 20 and 21:
    -Lying doesn't effect Huck's conscious for he feels he's not hurting anyone by it. He lies to get bits of information and then carries on with his life. What he says he believes is okay because he's so accustomed to telling lies for it has become part of his moral reasoning.
    -The thunderstorm doesn't effect him because it's natural and unpredictable. His life resembles the storm because he doesn't know where he is heading or what is going to happen next. All he is doing is taking life as it is thrown at him.
    -One example of gullibility within the novel would be at the camp meeting. The king tells the crowd that he was a pirate, but due to the teachings of this group, he was a reformed pirate. He told the crowd that he needed money to help bring to the pirates to help change their lives as well.

    Chapters 22 and 23:
    -A crowd forms in front of Sherburn's house during the night. One can state that the people of the mob could be perceived as cowards for they all came to lynch Sherburn in the middle of the night with masks. They don't have it in them to confront him face to face in broad daylight. Instead they travel in a pack concealing their identity within the darkness, that way no one could have the blame pinned on them. Ultimately, Sherburn was able to break up the crowd because he made them feel insignificant as men and stated that they'd only brought "part of a man."
    -The king was considered a "rapscallion" due to the way he treated his people. The duke and the king conducted a scam to extort money out of people, therefore stating that the kings are untrustworthy and don't really care for their people. This goes along with kings of the past because Twain uses the example of Henry VIII to describe how he would use women and simple discard them the following day.
    -As the novel progresses, Huck sees a different side of Jim. After revealing the incident when he beat his daughter when she didn't do what he had asked, Huck realized that Jim loves his family just like any other person would. He is also beginning to see Jim more as an individual, rather than a slave.

  5. Posting for Zach B., Darnell, Chastity, Leah, and Emma M.

    Our group briefly covered the questions from chapters 18-22

    We mainly focused our discussion however on themes and character traits such as how the Mississippi River is symbolic of freedom, the growth of Huck's character and his relationship with Jim thus far, and the hypocrisy of religion.

    In the Chapters we reviewed we concluded that symbols and characters are consistently changing throughout the novel, evolving and growing as new experiences and knowledge is gained. The Mississippi River at the start of the novel represented freedom for Huck and Jim. For Huck freedom from “sivilised” society, where as for Jim it meant freedom from slavery and hope to free his family. The river however imposes as a great obstacle for Jim and Huck on their journey. Once they miss their turn up north on the River they end up drifting ashore and being forced into sticky situations, such as the feud between the Shepardson and Grangerford families.
    These two families have been fighting over foolish matters since a date they can’t even recall. The families engage in violent and cruel killings of one another like the Montague and Capulets of Shakespeare’s classic play. This immoral act doesn’t keep them from attending same Church, praising the word of god, and praying for forgiveness, and listening to sermons about love. These families are very devout to the word within the walls of the institution but do little practicing of it in their daily lives and interactions with one another. The hate in Huck Finn displays more violent and extremity in the number of people killed. The use of young roles, like Romeo and Buck, shows how hatred strips away the innocence of youth and replaces it with prejudice.

    Twain uses satire in the exchanges between the two families and the town in general to convey this hypocrisy and wrong. When Sherburn makes his speech to the man his words are eloquent and profound. They call the town out on their mob mentality and lead them to become even more morally puzzled. It’s ironic because the words are coming from the tongue of a murder.
    Huck may be street smart but lacks world experience. He runs away seeking something beyond the sivilised lifestyle of his hometown. In order to run away he fakes his death and dresses up as a girl. He always justifies these lies with a claim that his safety was at stake and he needed to escape or leave. He’s a child that sees a world around him that lies to itself, therefore a lot doesn’t bother him. Throughout he looks for truth and good. The places he visits its hard to discern right from wrong, illusion from reality. His lies are not immoral, only foolish and naive.

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  7. Posting for Zach, Darnell, Leah, Chastity and Emma.
    Our grouped did a review of chapters 24-32, which seemed to have a very big focus on morality and deception.

    Our group discussed how Huck and Jim are sort of on this path to freedom, symbolized by the river, and they continuously encounter these lies and tests of merit along this "path to freedom". One of the bigger accounts would be the King and the Duke. The chapters with the King and Duke are sort of the stepping stones, or the transition period where Huck goes from almost solely relying on lies to get through situations and into the "grey" area.
    Also, Twain delved into the satirizing "family ties" in that, Jim, a slave, an "animal", feels for his family so deeply, but the white men are so cruel amongst their own families its almost laughable.
    The group decided Mary Jane was like the mother figure Huck never had. He finds her attractive(which might be Twain's way of reflecting her morality unto her looks) kind, and honest, and after experiencing the King and duke I'm sure that the hospitality and almost maternal personality is both refreshing and surprising to Huck.
    Are group discussed the symbol of thunderstorms extensively. After throwing around a few motifs (some a little more cliche than others) we decided that storm sort of define Huck. He has had so many problems in his life that a storm is nothing, due to his now inane ability to handle his life's "storms".
    A topic that was surprisingly difficult (likely due to the moral context) was Huck's choice to free Jim against his "social morality". Are group discussed how Huck has realized after travelling all over the place with Jim and really getting to know him, Jim has gone from a "negro" to a person in Huck's eyes. A person Huck isn't willing to condemn. Instead, Huck states "I'll go to hell" which is essentially Twain saying that Huck is prepared to suffer the consequences of a society that doesn't find freeing a slave moral.
    The Duke, we found, is not necessarily less evil than the King, he just isn't as ruthless. He's like the assassin and the king the warrior. They both kill, but one does it with care. The Duke still exploits people, but he doesn't see the need to drag a youth like Huck into it.
    We discussed Tom and Huck's contrasting personalities and how Huck is a boy of his own morals and Tom follows society's ideas of morality. Tom agrees to help Jim escape because he knows Jim is someone else's slave, but since Huck doesn't know Tom knows this, Huck is bewildered as to why rule bound Tom is helping him. Furthermore, when Jim acts as an informant I personally feel that a black man in that era wouldn't have been listened to at all, however it fits exceedingly well into Twain's book and he is the master so I'll not question it.

  8. Sam, Gaelynn, Valerie, and Danielle.

    Chapters 24 and 25:
    -People tend to be gullible due to a lack of education or general knowledge. They take everything at face value and assume that what they are being told is always going to be correct. Instead of verifying their statements, they just feed off of everyones lies.
    -Huck notices that they're stealing from the orphans, which has made him more critical of the duke and the king. The orphans are kind hearted individuals and don't pose and harm or threat to those around them. However, the king and the duke still continue on their schemes by extorting money from these girls. This changes his morals because he now sees those who are being hurt, opposed to a larger group such as the town.
    -The king and the duke give the money away to try and avoid any suspicions from arising. What they hope to gain by this is the trust of the town, however, they ultimately hope to gain more money in the end. If they are able to gain their trust, they will be able to obtain their money once again, but if not, they still have the property that they could sell.
    Chapters 26 and 27:
    -When one is trying to fool the Wilks, one is able to see the faces of the people and the pain they're causing to them. On the other hand, if you were to try and fool those of the Royal Nonesuch, there is a greater amount of people, therefore the faces blend together and it doesn't effect someone as much. When you're fooling the Wilks, you're fooling a smaller group of people so they would haunt ones conscience more.
    -After thinking they've been robbed, they feel that the slaves are as good at acting as they are. The king and the duke both feel that the slaves are just as good as extorting money out of people, just as they supposedly stolen the money from them.
    -What Twain is trying to portray is the horrifying truth of slavery. For example, when Jim was separated from his family, he says he is going to buy them back to put an end to their suffering. The evils of slavery can also be portrayed when the king and duke separate the Wilks' slaves when they decide to sell them. They break up a family just to get their hands on as much money as possible and don't feel any remorse. However they do feel a bit of regret only because their actions effect the feelings of the townspeople, which leads them to believe they may get caught.

    Chapters 28 and 29:
    -Huck is upset at how hurt Mary Jane has become because of the lies she'd fell victim to. This leads Huck to tell her the truth because he can't stand to see her upset any long, for he admires her for having a lot of "sand" in her and trusts her with the truth. It was easy for him to lie before because it happened spontaneously and he didn't have to worry about breaking someones trust or getting hurt by anyone else.
    -In this chapter, the storm terrifies Huck because it sets this horrific mood and makes him feel that his life is now potentially in danger. While he's in the graveyard, he quickly begins to run away for he believes God was about to take hold of him and punish him for what he had done.
    -Huck likes Mary Jane because he believes she is a strong individual and she stands up for him. She differs from her sisters because she is more moral and caring, which can be expressed when she was crying for her deceased uncle.

    Chapter 30 and 31:
    -Huck makes the ultimate decision by stating that he was going to save Jim no matter the consequences because he couldn't bare to see him as a slave any longer. Anyone else would have stuck to the law and returned him back to his owner. Huck knows it is wrong to try and guide a slave to freedom, but all he wants to do is help out his friend.

  9. Alex, Michelle, Zach, and Aubrey

    We didn't finish the questions because we had a rather lengthy and tangent filled discussion about gullible people today, but we got through a good chunk of them.

    Chapters 22-23
    1. The members of the lynch mob are cowardly because they need a group and the cover of night to feel shielded and innocent in an action. They aren’t brave enough to confront someone themselves in daylight for what they believe or pretend to believe, only when they’re part of a larger mass, an identity of its own, can they act. Sherburn embarrasses the mob by calling them out on this and they disperse. We further discussed the safety or the crowd and how it allows for people to not think for themselves or develop their own opinions.
    2. Kings are rapscallions when they cheat and do as they please. Huck talks about other kings who have been unfair, speaking most lengthily about Henry VIII and his many wives.
    3. Huck, instead of revising his entire conception of black people, decides that Jim is an exception. He sees Jim as a real man, not an animal. Jim feels that Huck is his only friend, the only one that he can trust. He loves Huck as a son. This deepening bond is shown mainly through the way they interact with each other. Huck decides his friendship with Jim is more important than the “morals” he’s been taught, Jim treats Huck with love and whenever there’s trouble is extremely affectionate upon it’s resolution.
    Chapters 24-25
    1. We talked about the media and how easily people are lead to believe, based on the same facts, opposing things. The bias of the media seems to escape most of the American population, many of whom will blatantly reject facts that go against their claims and convictions. People are gullible because when they want to believe something, they are willing to hang on to any shred that makes them right. For example, on last week’s This American Life, there was a collector and seller of historical memorabilia. He was so hopeful about the authenticity of these documents he had that even when they were proven to be forged and the man who gave them to him was revealed to have made up his entire past, the collector was still convinced they were real, somehow, and that there was a conspiracy.
    2. Huck seems to feel more offended by this exploitation of the grieved and abhors the poor disguises. He has matured past the pranks he played in the beginning of the book (the hat, the snakeskin, the feigning ignorance of losing Jim in the rapids of an island) and is more aware of the feelings of others.
    3. They give it away because it secures them as the real deal, why would imposters not just take off with the money? It gives them credibility and they receive the money again, to invest as they see fit.
    Chapters 26-27
    1. The first fraud is successful because of the spite of neighbors toward one another. It was the fault of the townspeople the frauds were not run out of town. The Wilks, however, were grieved and victim to a fraud that left them out of their entire inheritance. It’s a lot more hurtful than the first scheme.
    2. They think the slaves were cheats like themselves, pretending heartbreak at the prospect of separation in order to get away more easily.
    3. Twain is horrified by the heartless splitting of families. When the frauds sell off the Wilks slaves and they cry with the girls, and also when Jim speaks of his family. Both show loving families, horrified at separation just as anyone would be.

  10. Nadia and Emma D.
    1.Harney Shepherdson and Miss Sophia's relationship was similar to Romeo and Juliet because their families had a feud and hated eachother even though no one still knew exactly what it was about. It was different because although they were in love, they weren't 14 and didn't die. Huck was sympathetic.
    2. Twain says they are all hypocrits and do things opposite to what they claim to be their religious values such as slavery, feuds, and killing other people.
    3. Huck and Jim love the raft because it symbolizes the freedom and life that they want. Life on land is scary and unpredictable but on the raft they can depend on each other.
    1. Huck's lies don't hurt anyone, so they're not really morally wrong. He only lies about his background in order to protect himself from getting sent back home.
    2.Huck isn't afraid of the storm because in our opinions we think Jim makes him feel safe on the raft, and it helps things move along quicker towards freedom.
    3. Twain makes fun of their religious because they are so anxious to help a pirate reform his was when he is obviously lying, showing how gullible they are.
    1. In mobs people have to be in large groups of men in order to feel like they have control over one helpless person or feeling intimidating. Sherburn was successful in breaking up the mob because he tells them that they all are cowards.
    2. Royalty enslaves others, it is a shame. They lie and steal just like the duke and the king.
    3. Huck thinks of Jim as a normal person and not just a slave. Jim cares about Huck and wants to protect him, he shows his by doing things such as taking the night shifts so Huck can sleep.
    1. Then people were more gullible because it was harder for information to travel as fast, people then wouldn't tell the difference between a southern accent and a British one so they were gullible to people like the King. Also they were just ignorant.

  11. Aireanna, Maggie, Erin, Kennethia, Tatiana, Shayla, Brianna, and Whitney:

    Chapter 16-17
    1. When Huck disguised himself as a girl to learn info about Jim's escape this reveals that Huck went against his fellow white man to protect Jim's rights as a human. This emphasizes the bond between both characters. Another example is when Huck lied to some men and told them that he left his family back on the boat, when in fact he was just covering for Jim.
    2. It doesnt make sense for Jim to buy his own children. Huck believes that he "white-man" or society owns Jim's children not Jim himself.
    3.Up to this section in the book Huck and Jim had established a band when they lost each other, Huck began to bond with the Shepardsons. This change in setting shows the disconnection in the novel. This shows a breaking point in the linear story

    Chapter 18-19
    1.They were in love but their families were feuding. The families didnt know what they were arguing about.
    2.Most church goers at the time were hypocrites. The Shepardsons & Grangerfords show that there is corruption with church walls.

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