Author: Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
- Started writing the text in 1876
A Few of the Ever-changing Covers:
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?”
- General topics within the novel
- Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
- Gilded Age: 1870- about 1878 (period of growth after the Civil War to the beginning of WWI)
- Progressive Era: 1890-1920 (responses to the economic and social issues that arose due to the rapid industrialization of America)
- The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
- Digital History
- Captains of Industry
- Andrew Carnegie- “The American Experience”
- Immigration to the United States- Harvard University
- The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
- Jim Crow Museum
- National Women’s History Museum
Potential Huckleberry Finn Debate Topics
- Huckleberry Finn is a racist novel.
- The N-word should be removed from Huckleberry Finn to make it more acceptable for a modern audience.
- Huckleberry Finn as the narrator knows more than a fourteen-year-old could possibly know.
- The use of dialect in Huckleberry Finn makes the book more of an artistic achievement.
- The character of Huck changes during the course of the novel.
- The ending of Huckleberry Finn prevents the book from being a “great” classic novel.
- The characterization of Jim is racist.
- 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.”
- 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)
- Huckleberry Finn Is an important record of American culture and history.
- The character of Huck has a good sense of humor.
- Mark Twain’s criticisms of society are still true today.
- Huckleberry Finn devalues the role of women.
- Huckleberry Finn should be eliminated from our school’s curriculum.
- The character of Huck is a worthy hero for a novel.
- The river is an important symbol in the novel and for all American literature.
- Huckleberry Finn is a book for children.
- Huck’s lies are moral.
Potential Mock Trial Topic
- 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.