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Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12 
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Post Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Mark Twain

Chapters 7 - 12



Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:11 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
I just love the dialogue in this story. I can just picture these boys out there in that boat, the whites of their eyes gleaming in the dark, talking about how they 'dasn't do this' and 'dasn't do that'.

The humour of it all is just precious.

Now, I've got to admit something I don't know - if I 'did' read Tom Sawyer and remembered anything of it, which I don't - other than something about these boys painting a fence - I'd know this, I guess.

Is Huckleberry black or white?

Hope that isn't a silly question.



Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:36 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Huck is white. He's just a step above Jim on the social ladder, in other words the trashiest of white trash. That makes his refusal to betray Jim all the more remarkable, since the lower one is on the ladder the more one needs to believe there's someone lower to step on.



Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:08 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Yeah . . . thanks Will - I get that now.



Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:48 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Women can tell me if I'm wrong here, but one aspect of this book appeals most deeply to men, or maybe the boys within the men. That's the element of chucking it all to embark on a grand adventure, living off the land or off the water, having no responsibilities and bonding with another male. The life Huck and Jim share seems just great, doesn't it? Never mind that their voyage is fraught with real danger and discomfort, and that they need to apply considerable expertise; we still think we'd like to go along and that we could. Twain couldn't have written the book without having had all the experiences common to boys growing up in the country and without the specialized experience of being a riverboat captain. So all the lore that Huck has gathered up, all the practical knowledge of nature, and all of what Twain learned about the behavior of a great river, are displayed. Possibly all this might seem too much to some readers, too much detail. But I like almost all of it, and the respect for knowing about the environment and how to do things is one thing that makes this book so iconically American.

There's a scene in Tom Sawyer where the townspeople believe Huck and Tom are dead and give them a funeral, which H & T watch. I think of that as Huck goes through the procedure of staging his "death" in an attempt to escape from Pap. It works, and later we have the scene where Huck grabs a couple of loaves of bread that come bobbing down the river, loaves that were sent to find his dead body! Huck reflects that in this case the prayers that the widow or parson must have said for the bread to find him, came true. Huck is pretty stoic; he handles some very difficult things without much overt comment about how they make him feel. He's had to grow up much sooner than other boys. He can't afford the luxury of feeling sorry for himself because he needs to survive.

We meet Jim. I suppose the use of "nigger" isn't the only element of racial controversy in this book. I wonder whether Twain's portrayal of Jim doesn't have a minstrel-show quality to it, a quality conveyed by the sharp difference between the speech of Jim and Huck, as well as by the greater ignorance of Jim and his emotionality. Does Twain make Jim too comic a character? I just pose the question. For all that, we can observe that Huck is very superstitious as well, and that Huck doesn't set himself up as smarter than Jim. Some of the good ideas are Jim's.

Huck of course has deep prejudices about "niggers," though. The episode with the snakeskin is the first step in Huck's realizing that Jim is just as human as he is. He plays a prank on Jim, but regrets it when Jim comes close to dying of snakebite.

When Huck and Jim board the wrecked riverboat, Huck lingers to overhear the conversation between the bad guys. He says Tom Sawyer would do just the same thing. So the influence of Tom lingers, resulting probably in the loss of the raft. Huck doesn't realize that Tom would say that it's a good idea to court danger for the sake of adventure. But Tom very likely would never do it.



Last edited by DWill on Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:36 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
You have such a good way of describing all that, Will.

Being a female, I can tell you, I think everyone relates to their adventures. I myself just love the idea of being out in the wild, living off my wits like that.

I know very well I wouldn't be good at it though - even in my youth, with few physical handicaps, I doubt I could live a rugged life like that. But it's fun to imagine being there with Huck and Jim.

I remember being around eight or so and going up to a ravine up the Kingston Road. It was the closest thing we had to a wild place around our neighbourhood. When I stepped in there on my own, it was like entering a different world. There was no real danger, other than sinking to my knees in mud and having to haul myself out with tree branches, but just the same, it was exciting. And I could really believe I was a character in an adventure story.



Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:29 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
I'm just about to read these chapters and catch up, but couldn't resist commenting that I think one of the great advances of our time is that adventure stories like Huck Finn can be written with female characters in the lead roles and go over very well, unlike in Mark Twain's time, and this change reflects a broader societal equality trend. But DWill may be right that there is a deeply embedded urge in the male psyche to pitch everything over and pursue adventure, a damn the torpedoes attitude, that perhaps is not as prominent in women. Or perhaps men just like to think that they think this way hence holding dear to one of the last great bastions that defines manhood?



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Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:13 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Well, I grew up with Arthur Ransome's - Swallows and Amazons, the girls played quite a major part, and in Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five' books, and also the 'Secret Seven'. Admittedly they are very British...

...But what about Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. What about Anne of Green Gables. What about Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. All heroines, just not so swashbuckling. - (How do you swash your buckle?)

What about 'What Katy Did' 'Little Women'....and Heidi???


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Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:55 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
My grandmother had a copy of 'Ruth Fielding of the Great Northwest'.

It was an old book when she had it - she was always encouraging me to get it out from the bookcase when I visited there. I never did.

I don't know if anyone ever saved the book.



Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:01 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
We have a lot of obscure Edwardian books where I work, Carley, I'll look out for that one and let you know.

I've just reread giselle's post and realised I read it wrongly. It must have been the wine at dinner last night. The point he was making was the rip roaring adventures as in Boy's Own Paper stuff.


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Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:07 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Penelope wrote:
We have a lot of obscure Edwardian books where I work, Carley, I'll look out for that one and let you know.

I've just reread giselle's post and realised I read it wrongly. It must have been the wine at dinner last night. The point he was making was the rip roaring adventures as in Boy's Own Paper stuff.


I read Enid Blyton too, and I think you are right, I was referring to what you might call 'rip roaring' adventure with clear and present danger ... I guess EB touches on this sort of adventure, in a gentle, rather British sort of way! But then they are kids books. I do think that the identity of the main, male characters including Huck and Tom, are interwoven with this sense of adventure, despite risk, actually where risk, even mortal risk, is an essential ingredient in both the story and the character and perhaps it could be argued are the measure of a man.



Last edited by giselle on Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:04 am, edited 3 times in total.



Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:00 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Yes, but women were given different adventures. None of us went out swashbuckling.



Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:35 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
Some of my favourites along these lines of boy's nature adventure were My Side of the Mountain and Hugh Walters solar system travel adventure Chris Godfrey stories sadly now very rare. Also the Willard Price Adventure series.



Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:42 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
WildCityWoman wrote:
Yes, but women were given different adventures. None of us went out swashbuckling.


Perhaps, but I'm reminded of Star Trek, at least the original version, with some notable female characters and I think you could call this 'swashbuckling adventure' ..



Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 7-12
These chapters describe the way in which Huck Finn and Jim come to embark on an adventure, as we have been discussing, but really this is an adventure that is thrust upon them due to their desperate situations, they are both running for their lives. Jim is a fugitive slave and Huck, while not a fugitive from the law, has faked his own death and is running from a violent and abusive father. This is not an adventure just for fun and excitement, although I think Huck takes it this way. Also, I felt Jim's comments about a man's worth, in his case $800, were quite revealing. It must have been very strange and disempowering to feel that a specific market value has been placed on you. I think this would go to the core of one's identity as a human being. But I liked the way he turned this around to wishing that he had that money and then he would need nothing more. Oddly, he does have this money, not in cash, but in the sense that he is his own man (as long as he is free) and so has the equivalent in 'value' at least as measured by the market.



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Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:48 pm
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