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SparkNotes: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Overview

Date of publication: 2017-09-05 10:59

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Plot Analysis

The morning after his robber gang adventure, Huck receives a lecture from Miss Watson for dirtying his clothes. She takes him into a closet to pray, and tells him to pray every day so he will get what he wants. Huck tries to pray daily, but becomes disillusioned when all he gets is a fish-line with no hooks, when he prayed extra hard for hooks. When he asks Miss Watson about it, she tells him praying brings spiritual gifts. Unable to see any use for that sort of thing, Huck decides praying is probably not worth his time.

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Maybe Huck admires Tom because they're so different. Sure, Tom has a stable home and a good upbringing (a "character to lose" [], as Huck puts it), but he's different from Huck in other ways. Where Tom is imaginative, Huck is practical. Where Tom always has his nose in a book, Huck runs away to the river or woods when he needs to escape. Where Tom is basically a good-hearted kid who's oblivious to moral issues, Huck is a boy on the verge of becoming a man by grappling with some really important questions.

Tom Sawyer in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Huck Finn by Mark Twain.

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Everything goes fairly well until one day when Huck accidentally overturns a salt-shaker at the breakfast table. Miss Watson does not let him throw any salt over his left shoulder (as a way of avoiding the bad luck), and as a result Huck starts to get worried that something bad will happen. As soon as Huck leaves the house, he notices boot prints in the fresh snow. Upon closer inspection he realizes that there is a cross on the left boot-heel, which he has only ever seen in his Pap's. Huck's Pap has returned.

In the first chapter, we observe Huck is ironically trapped in a "civilized" world, when he would prefer to live freely in nature. Irony appears in other areas of the novel as well. For example, Huck explains that the Widow Douglas wouldn't let him smoke, even though, ironically, she secretly uses snuff herself. Irony appears yet again when Miss Watson tries to warn Huck about hell. This warning is juxtaposed by her painful academic lessons. Huck finds spelling very difficult to learn and hates the lessons so much, that he remarks hell sounds more enjoyable. In this ironic reference, Twain reminds the reader of Huck's childhood innocence. Only a child would rationally choose hell over heaven.

Tom Sawyer's gang can be viewed as a childish representation of society as a whole, an example of a synecdoche. Tom creates a set of rules, ideas, and morals that he expects the boys to adhere to, all of which he gets from books. Thus, books form a foundation for civilization using books, Tom creates a society for his gang of friends. Ironically, Twain mocks the adult world in this chapter by showing that although the adult world relies on books such as the Bible to define civilization, pirate and robber books might also suffice.

Pap harasses Huck for wearing good clothes and going to school. He then accuses Huck of putting on airs and acting better than his own father. Pap remarks that no one in his family could ever read, and that he certainly does not want his son to be smarter than he is. He demands that Huck read him something, and soon becomes quite furious when he realizes that Huck is in fact able to read. Pap threatens to beat Huck if he ever catches him near the school again. He makes Huck hand over the dollar that Judge Thatcher "paid" him and then climbs out the window to go drinking in the town.

Students will begin their travels in Africa and learn about historical fiction and cultural characters from Chinua Achebe. Then poetry from Africa has much to teach about sound in poetry. Hop on a plane for the Land of the Rising Sun to learn about point of view and cultural values from Kazuo Ishiguro. In addition to this Japanese novel, students will study poetry from Japan to learn about themes. Students next travel to the Middle East to read Naguib Mahfouz and learn about symbolism and worldviews. Middle Eastern poetry teaches about imagery. Finally, students get to select an autobiography to learn more about writing their own autobiography. They wrap up their tour with more poetry that teaches about tone.

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