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Intro to Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Background info, themes, history, culture, etc.
by

Danielle Patenaude-Dumont

on 5 November 2013

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Transcript of Intro to Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
About the Author
Real Name: Samuel Clemens
Was a riverboat captain on the Mississippi River for several years until the Civil War closed the river to travel in 1860 (war was between 1861 and 1865).
"Mark Twain" is a nautical term for "2 fathoms"
Born in Florida, Missouri; moved to Hannibal, Missouri in 1839.
As a journalist he wrote humorous sketches, travelogues, adventures and satires until he became a novelist in 1870
Literary Movement: Realism
Realists wrote about...
real people, not idealised/perfect
the "here and now"
everyday American lives
Realists focused on...
Character instead of plot and action
dialect and vernacular, not poetic language
entertaining instead of educating audiences
changing scpecific social problems, like racism, through satire
Around 1855-1900: During Civil war and after
Understanding Huckleberry Finn
Published 1885
Inspired by Twain's work as a riverboat cap'n
Coming of age story
What does that mean?
Revolutionized American literature because
1. It was one of the first novels to employ the child’s perspective.

2. It employs various dialects (colloquial or vernacular language) realistic to the time and place (Mississippi Valley Region, 1840’s). Prior to this, colloquial speech was not considered legitimate literature.

3. Its hero, Huck, is a lower-class white child who is viewed as an outcast of
society.
Since this is a Realist novel, it uses satire to criticize society
Satire – A literary work ridiculing aspects of society or human behavior. A satire uses humor, exaggeration (hyperbole) and irony to amuse and arouse contempt in the reader; its purpose is to change society or human beings.
In Huck Finn, Twain satirizes
Pretentious people
superstitions
"civilized" vs. "uncivilized" people
common sense vs. education
RACISM
Huck Finn acts as a sequel to Tom Sawyer
Let's begin.
Full transcript