The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Notice and Explanatory
The novel begins with a Notice from someone named G. G., who is identified as the Chief of Ordnance. The Notice demands that no one try to find a motive, moral, or plot in the novel, on pain of various and sundry punishments. The Notice is followed by an Explanatory note from the Author, which states that the attention to dialects in the book has been painstaking and is extremely true-to-life in mimicking the peculiar verbal tendencies of individuals along the Mississippi. It assures the reader that if he or she feels that the characters in the book are “trying to talk alike but failing,” then the reader is mistaken.
The Notice and Explanatory set the tone for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn through their mixing of humor and seriousness. In its declaration that anyone looking for motive, plot, or moral will be prosecuted, banished, or shot, the Notice establishes a sense of blustery comedy that pervades the rest of the novel. The Explanatory takes on a slightly different tone, still full of a general good-naturedness but also brimming with authority. In the final paragraph, Twain essentially dares the reader to believe that he might know or understand more about the dialects of the South, and, by extension, the South itself. Twain’s good nature stems in part from his sense of assurance that, should anyone dare to challenge him, Twain would certainly prove victorious.
Beyond tone, the Notice and Explanatory set the stage for the themes that the novel explores later. Twain’s coy statement about the lack of seriousness in Huckleberry Finn actually alerts us that such seriousness does in fact exist in the text. At the same time, Twain’s refusal to make any straightforward claims for the seriousness of his work adds a note of irony and charm. The Explanatory note from the Author concerns the use of dialect, which Twain says has been reconstructed “painstakingly.” Again, if Huckleberry Finn is not meant to be a “serious” novel, the claim seems strange. But it is a serious novel, and Twain’s note on dialogue speaks for the authority and experience of the author and establishes the novel’s antiromantic, realistic stance. In short, the Notice and Explanatory, which at first glance appear to be disposable jokes, link the novel’s sense of fun and lightheartedness with its deeper moral concerns. This coupling continues throughout Huckleberry Finn and remains one of its greatest triumphs.
by 14guerreroa, September 07, 2012
It's a very confusing book. Half of it I don't understand!
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by 1Dvashappening, November 04, 2012
I really don't think that what sparknotes says about the climax is true. When huck was thinking about writing the letter, it didn't seem so, you know, climaxy...
I think when Huck managed to escape when they found the bag of gold on the corpses stomach in the middle of the night, and then how he got caught by the two rascals is the climax. Or when they were running away from the farmers and their guns.
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by MishterSkullzy, November 27, 2012
Throughout the story you notice that Jim and Huck's relationship change slowly throughout the story, and actually induces the climax of the story.
In the beginning of the story Huck is the same as he was in the prequel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which was much more of a childrens book
(I've read Tom Sawyer, and reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn afterword about 6 years later seems almost like the book grew up with me, becoming more mature, and not so "sprinkled in sugar")
At first, Jim and Huck (after Huck's f... Read more→
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