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Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 19-24 
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Post Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 19-24
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Mark Twain

Chapters 19 - 24



Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:58 pm
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 19-24
We can see how the raft represents an oasis for Jim and Huck. As long as they're on it, they're safe from the threatening elements on shore. This is most true, for Jim, of course, who is a hunted man, but for Huck, too, who's supposed to be dead and who wants to avoid the adults who would exploit him. Until, that is, the raft is invaded by the unsavory Duke and Dauphin. The word "rapscallion" could have been invented for these two guys. They're probably drawn from Twain's experience of seeing traveling entertainers/shysters making the circuit of these small, hardscrabble towns along the Mississippi. The "Shakespeare" speech the King gives is a hoot. I love the lines "But soft, the fair Ophelia,/Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws!" This pair makes the raft their rehearsal stage as they prepare for their bilking of the ignorant natives, greatly entertaining to Jim and Huck. They're both highly amusing, but there is also an undercurrent of menace about them.

Twain draws from his boyhood in this region, but he certainly never lets the warm glow of nostalgia color his portraits of the people. The townspeople are a rough and indolent bunch. Just as with the Shepherdsons and Grangerfords, there is no law and order. Colonel Sherburn guns down Boggs for a trivial reason, the townspeople move to lynch Sherburn, but he sends them packing just by abusing their manhood and threatening to shoot somebody else. This is all senseless, and again there is no commentary on it from Huck. To him, it's just the way things are.

Huck becomes more cognizant of Jim's humanity as things progress. He is surprised to realize that Jim has just as much feeling for his family as a white person, though this goes against everything that whites had to believe in order to justify owning people. The scene where Jim describes hitting his 4-year-old daughter for disobedience and then realizes she is deaf, is powerful stuff.



Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:43 am
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Post Re: Huckleberry Finn/ chapters 19-24
(Just before the "Duke" and "Dauphin" arrive.)
Another scene of Huck and Jim watching the river, observing others floating aimlessly down the river, striking tin pots in the dark to avoid being run over by riverboats. Who are these people that would risk their lives on makeshift rafts to go who knows where? The homeless of the day I expect or other runaway slaves. Although I live near the Ohio River, I can't imagine modern homeless folks doing such things. Closest I can come up with might be jumping onto an open boxcar and seeing where the train takes you. Sounds adventurous - and completely desperate...



Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:31 am
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