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Copy of Realism: Introduction to Mark Twain and Huck Finn

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Lisa Cook

on 5 November 2018

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Transcript of Copy of Realism: Introduction to Mark Twain and Huck Finn

Meet Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
What is Realism?
-Unlike the Romantics who focused on nature, Realists focused on society, the realities of society, and the "now."

What influenced Realism?
-America was quickly changing. Industrialization was calling for an American standardization and many writers were worried that the "now" ways, the folklore of American tradition, would soon be lost.

-For this reason, many realist writing is focused on a specific region. For example, Huck Finn focuses on the Mississippi River.

Characteristics of
-Things are written realistically and in comprehensive detail.
-Character is more important than action and plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject.
-Characters are in explicable relation to nature, to each other, to their social class, to their own past.

He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Born: November 30, 1835

Boyhood Home: Hannibal, Missouri (situated on the Mississippi River)

-apprenticed to a printer
-steamboat pilot
-silver miner
-confederate volunteer
-newspaper reporter
-frontier humorist
-Twain was born during a visit by Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well.
-He died the day of the comet's subsequent return.
-He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age, and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature."
-Ernest Hemingway called Twain's works the beginning of American literature.
Mark Twain
(Samuel Langhorn Clemens)
Twain shaped the world's view of America and had a profound impact on the development of American writing.
- his use of the vernacular idiom
- his departures from the traditions of
nineteenth-century gentility
- his sense of alienation
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Why did Mark Twain write Huck Finn?
Huck Finn has...
-a carefully controlled point of view
-implicit ironies
-masterful use of dialects
-humor and pathos
-innocence and evil
-a lot of controversial issues
- it's a commonly BANNED book
"a boy's book"
He wanted to document the real issues of society through an innocent perspective.
Why was it banned?
-habitual lying
-petty thefts
-bad language
-bad grammar
-questionable depictions of society (especially region)
Is it controversial?
Huck's moral crisis forces the reader to question what is wrong in society and asks the individual to make up their own mind about morality and ethics.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn continues the story from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are now both rich from the treasure they found, and the Huck has been adopted by the Widow Douglas

The Widow is trying to "civilize" Huck, but he prefers his wild and free lifestyle instead.

When Huck's (abusive and alcoholic) father returns, Huck knows he is in trouble

Huck is kidnapped by his father and held captive, but he manages to escape

Huck then runs into Jim, a runaway slave, and they escape together on an adventure down the Mississippi River
Seeing the world through Huck's eyes, the reader is able to pick up on things that Huck cannot - think of To Kill a Mockingbird from Scout's perspective

By witnessing Huck's moral development throughout the novel, the reader is forced to question their own

Mark Twain was very progressive for his time period and really tried to show the injustice and ignorance of racism
-While Romantics perceived the individual as this powerful being that can make his/her own destiny, Realists perceived the individual simply as a person...
-According to William Dean Howells, "Realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material"
-Our nation became divided: many were upset about abolished slavery, while many felt that it was a positive and progressive move for our nation.

-This left the country feeling torn and created deep prejudice and racism in the south.
-Class is important. Your place in society dictates how you act and how you think.
-Events will usually be plausible. Realistic novels avoid the sensational, dramatic elements of naturalistic novels and romances.
-Diction is natural vernacular (normal speech), not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact.
Characteristics, continued
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