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Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts 
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
A while ago I heard a radio interview with an Australian aboriginal singer who covered the old lullaby Alabama Coon. She said appropriating a pervasive term of abuse was a way of achieving racial pride.

The song is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOWuerPPEcQ

See also http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/ ... 876961.htm



Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:54 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
I downloaded Huckleberry Finn and read the first 6 chapters fairly quickly. There's a good chance I'll keep reading it, even though I'm in the middle of a few other books.

The fuss over the word "nigger" always seems a little odd to me, since it's a word that I never hear in real life. In the communities I've lived in my entire life, the fraction of black people has been small and hardly anyone engages in overt racism. The word only appears in fiction, documentaries, and discussions of its usage. Still, there may be parts of America in which white people use "nigger" as an insult, and it's not just a historical relic.

It's the same attitude I have towards the word "kike", a derogatory word for "Jew" that I've never heard anyone say aloud.



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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
Huck actually believes that by helping Jim he is committing robbery, because he truly thinks that Jim is someone else's property.

And his instrospection on this is illuminating and sad. He thinks that he will go to hell for the robbery he is committing in helping Jim. And he decides it is worth it, to enable Jim to live free.

That is one hell of a commitment to another human being.

Who among us would be willing to go to hell for all eternity for the sake of another person's temporal benefit?

But Huck does. Or so he thinks.

There is a copout at the end when it turns out that Jim is actually free anyway so Huck is now "innocent" of the sin of robbery.

To me, this takes away from the power of the book.

But that moment when Huck, thinking he will go to hell, decides to help Jim anyway, IS powerful.



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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
I look at the plot device of Miss Watson freeing Jim as making sense (it that's the word) of Tom Sawyer's willingness to help Huck "free" Jim. It only makes the contrast between the two boys more glaring. Tom had never had a serious thought and like most people was out for himself. He would never have risked anything for a mere slave. Huck, I think because he had no illusions about status equaling moral goodness, knew that Jim was actually more worth saving than many of his "betters."


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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
Does a person have to be "better" in order to be worth saving?

Or is it enough simply to be human?



Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:44 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
Robby wrote:
Does a person have to be "better" in order to be worth saving?

Or is it enough simply to be human?


I think we get into the meanings of words here ... "person" incorporates "human" and, in my view, the degree to which Huck wrestled with the possibility that Jim (and all Negroes) were actually human was a measure of Huck's own humanity. Tom fell sadly below this human line in my view. I can't even like Tom.

The posession or ownership of another human precludes humaness. So once the 'possession' of Jim was so clearly in question his humaness surfaced and all bets were off, his humaness was self-evident and not even Tom's silly games could suppress it.

I'm reading Isabel Allende, "Island Beneath the Sea", at the moment, and this is a brilliant exploration of this theme, written with a more modern tone and a good deal of magic and spiritualism but in many ways not a far cry from Twain's book.



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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
Just to clarify for Robby, I enclosed the word "betters" in quotes to indicate that at that time (and still today), certain classes of people were held to be better than others, and therefore if it came down to it would be seen as more worth saving.


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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
tjamesmoss.author wrote:
Can you all BELIEVE they are changing Huck Finn to be PC? The audacity!!!


Last Sunday's 60 Minutes piece on the PC Huckleberry Finn explains everything.

The explanation is not at all satisfying, though. Books are no different than paintings - once they're rendered they MUST be left alone.

Howard Sherman
http://www.howardsherman.net



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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
Huckleberry Finn is a brilliant book for a billion reasons. I loved it as a child because it delivered on its title’s promise; it really was a series of awesome adventures. I recently re-read it and it blew me away all over again; I couldn’t get over the way Mark Twain dealt with the themes of morality, race, religion, youth, etc., delivered a powerful message for equality and freedom without being preachy, and managed to make it all so much fun. Huckleberry Finn really is an American classic.


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Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:11 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ introduction and first thoughts
Hello and welcome to BookTalk Luis!

I agree with you. Huck finds himself involved in some pretty scary adventures for a kid, and also battles some pretty heavy adult themes as well.



Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:55 am
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