The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn details the story of a young boy on his journey up the Mississippi River.

Rating: 9/10 witty schemes.

Summary:

One day Huck discovers that his father, Pap Finn, has returned to town. Because Pap has a history of violence and drunkenness, Huck is worried about Pap’s intentions, especially toward his invested money. Huck’s fears are soon realized when Pap kidnaps him and takes him across the Mississippi River to a small cabin on the Illinois shore.

Although Huck becomes somewhat comfortable with his life free from religion and school, Pap’s beatings become too severe, and Huck fakes his own murder and escapes down the Mississippi. Huck lands a few miles down at Jackson’s Island, and there he stumbles across Miss Watson’s slave, Jim, who has run away for fear he will be sold down the river.

Jim’s plan is to reach the Illinois town of Cairo, and from there, he can take the Ohio River up to the free states. The plan troubles Huck and his conscience. However, Huck continues to stay with Jim as they travel, despite his belief that he is breaking all of society and religion’s tenets. Huck’s struggle with the concept of slavery and Jim’s freedom continues throughout the novel.

Huck and Jim encounter several characters during their flight, including a band of robbers aboard a wrecked steamboat and two Southern “genteel” families who are involved in a bloody feud. The only time that Huck and Jim feel that they are truly free is when they are aboard the raft.

After a short struggle with some plotting brothers, Jim is sold back into slavery and is now on the farm of Huck’s friend Tom’s Aunt and Uncle. Tom arrives and slips into the role of his relative Sid in order to free Jim.

When the escape finally takes place, a pursuing farmer shoots Tom in the calf. Because Jim will not leave the injured Tom, Jim is again recaptured and taken back to the Phelps farm. At the farm, Tom reveals the entire scheme to Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas. Readers learn that Miss Watson has passed away and freed Jim in her will, and Tom has been aware of Jim’s freedom the entire time. At the end of the novel, Jim is finally set free and Huck ponders his next adventure away from civilization.

Review:

Regarded by many brilliant writers as the Father of all modern American literature, this book is so substantial it hurts. For one, the enviable position of freedom that Huck and Jim experience has nearly everyone transported to another world upon opening up the first pages of this novel. In short, this novel is glorious and its themes or so so wide reaching that it’s hard to say just what it is about the novel that makes it so appealing. The action? The hidden motives? The style? The twists? Take your pick, because any of these are amazing in the novel.

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