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Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6 
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
The writer of the Afterword in my paperback said that the options open to Twain were essentially only two: the minstrel show Negro and the white character in "blackface," like Stow's George Wilson in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Twain seems to have gone initially with the first option, but then to have humanized Jim realistically as the book went on, even though he never gets away entirely from the demeaning stereotype. Jim always remains dependent, though you could say that part of slavery's evil was to rob blacks of belief in their own equality. Jim has very realistic fears of being captured that would hamper any person's sense of independence.

It does still make me uncomfortable to see "nigger" used so casually in the book. I'm not sure that Twain is always doing that for a properly subversive reason, since he was divided about the social mission of the book. But if his purpose was realism, the creation of a narrator who spoke as almost any southern white would have in the 1850s, I think he succeeded completely.


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Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:09 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
Yes, I can see that Jim has a slave mentality. He was only running away because he didn't want to be sold on, not to escape his plight.

I'm not halfway through the book yet, so I shouldn't criticise until I've read it.

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DWill wrote:

I'm not sure that Twain is always doing that for a properly subversive reason, since he was divided about the social mission of the book.


Well, in my copy there is a disclaimer by Mark Twain - which I posted on one of the threads, saying the book was solely for entertainment - no message. So it is the story of the boys' adventures.....as it would have been, if they had befriended a totally stupid slave. I have been thinking just this morning, that at the very beginning, when Huck and Tom were hiding in the garden.....Jim was quite assertive then. So perhaps Mark Twain was showing what fear can do to a person. And also how, any kind of status (even that of a house slave) can instil confidence.......Yes, that's what I'm going to think, so that I can carry on enjoying the book.


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Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:48 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
I have had HF on my shelf for years, so this was a good push to get me to read it. Also with the latest news replacing the N word, I felt I should see for myself what the story was really all about. The only Twain I had previously read was Life on the Mississippi, and never took Twain's other novels very seriously.

As with all literature, I was surprised, I could feel myself getting sucked in right away. I also have to say that Twain is a better master of writing in dialects then posibly any other author I have read. I am currently reading Matthiessen's Shadow Country which uses several dialects, and seems to get in the way at times. I have not found much of a distraction with Twain's use of local dialect.

Possibly because I heard so much about the N word, I was not shocked while reading it. The shocking part for me was the violence from Hucks father. The drinking binges are all over literature, but I can't recall any other child abuse written so blatantly. (I'm sure it's out there is anyone wants to enlighten me)

Overall I'm glad I picked the book up and have enjoyed the opening as much as I did. I anticipate finishing, but possibly after the end of February.



Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:58 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
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Wine and Books wrote:

I anticipate finishing, but possibly after the end of February.


Well, read along with me if you like....because I'm well behind too, but, like you, I'm enjoying it. So keep posting your impressions, and I'll keep up if I can.


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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
This is one of my favorite story when i was young. Honestly i never had a chance to buy some book of this. But thanks to the new gadgets that we have now.



Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:11 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
What a joy it is to read this book! Yes, the content is sometimes dark, but the descriptions of life in that place, at that time, are so evocative I feel that I am there. What a writer Twain was! I felt a sense of engagement with Huck from the very first pages, even though our life experiences are poles apart.
I read the author's notes about the languages used with some trepidation; I usually feel that if a book needs to be explained then the author hasn't written it well enough. However, I love the language used and I don't find it difficult read. In truth, there are so many variations in the ways that language is used in real life that we are accustomed to 'decoding' conversations on a regular basis; this probably wouldn't present a huge problem for anyone today. This may not have been true when Twain wrote it.



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Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
Wine and Books wrote:
Possibly because I heard so much about the N word, I was not shocked while reading it. The shocking part for me was the violence from Hucks father.


I agree; the violence bothered me far more than a racial slur could. For that matter, the brutal nature of slavery bothers me far more than an insulting term. Actions matter far more to me than words, but the fuss over the term "nigger" indicates that many people have a different reaction.



Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:10 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 1-6
I think most of the fuss over the "N" word in The Adventures of Huck Finn came from people that never even read this masterpiece.



Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:51 pm
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