PAPERBACK; 327 P. PENGUIN CLASSICS, 2002/1884 SOURCE: PURCHASED
Mark Twain’s tale of a boy’s picaresque journey down the Mississippi on a raft conveyed the voice and experience of the American frontier as no other work had done before. When Huck escapes from his drunken father and the ‘sivilizing’ Widow Douglas with the runaway slave Jim, he embarks on a series of adventures that draw him to feuding families and the trickery of the unscrupulous ‘Duke’ and ‘Dauphin’. Beneath the exploits, however, are more serious undercurrents – of slavery, adult control and, above all, of Huck’s struggle between his instinctive goodness and the corrupt values of society, which threaten his deep and enduring friendship with Jim.
Earlier this year I read Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings and fell in love with his way of writing irony. I’m currently studying a course that goes through early American literature and Huckleberry Finn is compulsory reading for the course. The story centers around a boy named Huckleberry Finn, who was a companion to Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In the introduction of the book it is revealed that Mark Twain intended Huckleberry Finn as a “sequel” to Tom Sawyer but in time the book grew to be more than just a sequel. And for this reason I did feel like I was starting to read a series from the middle.
The book starts with Huck Finn who escapes from his father and fakes his own death. In his escape he meets Jim, a runaway slave, and they team up deciding to go up north where Jim can become free. They travel on a raft along the river Mississippi and encounter adventures as they go along. The story is written from first person point of view and in the spoken language of the time. This makes reading a bit harder and especially Jim’s word were almost complete Greek to me – I usually had to read them out loud to cipher them. The writing does, however, give the story a certain character and it reflects the innocence of our main character.
I liked the book and how it depicted different personalities. The people Huck and Jim meet on their adventures all deal with different type of problems and issues. The chapter in the book are generally short so it was easy to read a chapter or a two sitting in a bus or between lectures at the uni. On the surface the story is a simple collection of adventures but with time it reveals a more in-depth picture of the society and American nature. But I think that to understand this book better, I should have read the Adventures of Tom Sawyer first.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
“All right, then, I’ll go to hell” – and tore it up.