The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 

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Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Published: 1885

  • Started writing the text in 1876

Setting: 1840s

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A Few of the Ever-changing Covers:

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Helpful Dates to Remember:

  • 1840s: Setting of Huck Finn
    • 1840-1920: Fight for Women’s Rights
  • 1861- 1865: American Civil War
    • 1863: Emancipation Proclamation
    • 1865: 13th Amendment of the Constitution ratified (“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”)
    • 1868: 14th Amendment of the Constitution ratified (citizenship of former slaves)
  • 1865- 1877: Reconstruction
    • 1870: 15th Amendment of the Constitution ratified (African American men can vote)
    • 1870s- 1960s: Jim Crow Laws
    • 1876: Mark Twain begins writing Huck Finn
  • 1878- 1889: Gilded Age
    • 1885: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published
  • 1914- 1919: WWI  (The Great War)
  • 1890- 1920: Progressive Era
  • 1939- 1945: WWII
  • 1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964 / End of Jim Crow Laws
  • 1965: the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • 1968: Fair Housing Act of 1968

Huckleberry Finn and the N-Word

Should the N-word be replaced with the term “slave?”

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Additional Resources:

Potential Huckleberry Finn Debate Topics

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  1. Huckleberry Finn is a racist novel.
  2. The N-word should be removed from Huckleberry Finn to make it more acceptable for a modern audience.
  3. Huckleberry Finn as the narrator knows more than a fourteen-year-old could possibly know.
  4. The use of dialect in Huckleberry Finn makes the book more of an artistic achievement.
  5. The character of Huck changes during the course of the novel.
  6. The ending of Huckleberry Finn prevents the book from being a “great” classic novel.
  7. The characterization of Jim is racist.
  8. Huckleberry Finn is “the great American novel”. Hemingway’s comment is true: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…the best book we’ve ever had. There was nothing before. There’s been nothing as good since.”
  9. The novel of Huckleberry Finn itself contradicts his introductory note about “attempting to find a motive…a moral… [or] a plot”. (In other words, there is a motive, a moral and a plot to it)
  10. Huckleberry Finn Is an important record of American culture and history.
  11. The character of Huck has a good sense of humor.
  12. Mark Twain’s criticisms of society are still true today.
  13. Huckleberry Finn devalues the role of women.
  14. Huckleberry Finn should be eliminated from our school’s curriculum.
  15. The character of Huck is a worthy hero for a novel.
  16. The river is an important symbol in the novel and for all American literature.
  17. Huckleberry Finn is a book for children.
  18. Huck’s lies are moral.

Potential Mock Trial Topic

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  1. Mr. Twain has been charged with the crime of Racism. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is has been deemed a book that is racist and inappropriate for society.

 

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