The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Huck Finn is a thirteen-year-old boy. Why does Twain use a child as the center of consciousness in this book?
2. Discuss Twain’s use of dialects in the novel. What effect does this usage have on the reader? Does it make the novel less of an artistic achievement?
3. Discuss the use of the river as a symbol in the novel.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Lying occurs frequently in this novel. Curiously, some lies, like those Huck tells to save Jim, seem to be “good” lies, while others, like the cons of the duke and the dauphin, seem to be “bad.” What is the difference? Are both “wrong”? Why does so much lying go on in Huckleberry Finn?
2. Describe some of the models for families that appear in the novel. What is the importance of family structures? What is their place in society? Do Huck and Jim constitute a family? What about Huck and Tom? When does society intervene in the family?
3. The revelation at the novel’s end that Tom has known all along that Jim is a free man is startling. Is Tom inexcusably cruel? Or is he just being a normal thirteen-year-old boy? Does Tom’s behavior comment on society in some larger way?
4. What techniques does Twain use to create sympathy for his characters, in particular, Jim? Are these techniques effective?
5. Discuss the place of morality in Huckleberry Finn. In the world of the novel, where do moral values come from? The community? The family? The church? One’s experiences? Which of these potential sources does Twain privilege over the others? Which does he mock, or describe disapprovingly?
6. Why might Twain have decided to set the novel in a time before the abolition of slavery, despite the fact that he published it in 1885, two decades after the end of the Civil War?
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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