BOOK REVIEW: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN BY MARK TWAIN

huck finn

GENERAL INFORMATION

TITLE: THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN

AUTHOR: MARK TWAIN

PAGES: 336

PUBLISHER: WWW.KOBO.COM

YEAR: 1884

GENRE: GENERAL FICTION

COVER TYPE: E BOOK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventures_of_Huckleberry_Finn

www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Adventures-Of-Huckleberry-Finn/book-p-waEufm4UeGlbnIa7VU-A/page1.html

This was downloaded as a free e-book via the second link above.

BLURB FROM THE COVER

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local colour regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

THE OPENING LINE

You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, but that ain’t no matter.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

I enjoyed The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I’ve read better but I’ve read a lot worse. It’s one of those classics it’s sort of an obligation to read. I wouldn’t rush out and pay for a copy but it’s acceptable to download a free one from www.kobo.com. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been adapted for the screen many times. I’m fairly certain I’ve seen at least one version.

REVIEW

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is written in the first person and narrated by Huckleberry ‘Huck’ Finn. Twain uses vernacular English throughout the novel. I’m not usually a fan of this style of writing but Twain makes it work. I felt the use of vernacular English did a great job of creating Huck’s characterisation. I also think it gave The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn an authentic, period feel and help to create a sense of place as well. I didn’t have an issue with Twain’s use of vernacular English. I understood every word.

I was enchanted by the first section of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, set in Missouri. Huck is living under the care of two elderly women called Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson who are attempting to civilise him and teach him religion. He’s about fourteen and a bit simple-minded. A lot of chapters in this section made me laugh particularly when Huck joins up with Tom Sawyer and his gang of robbers. Their plans to kidnap someone and hold them to ransom were hilarious. I felt sorry for Huck when his shitless father turns up. I cheered when Huck ‘fakes’ his death and goes on the run.

I thought the characterisation was very good in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huck is very real throughout the novel. Part of this is because he’s the first person narrator and part of it Twain pulls off with his use of vernacular English. The other main character is Jim, a black slave Huck escapes his father and goes on the run. Jim’s characterisation comes through Huck’s eyes and I think Twain pulls it off.

I’ve read a lot of criticism online of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn citing Twain’s use of the word ‘nigger’ and Jim being characterised as a sort of cartoon buffoon. I can’t agree with the criticism. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is written in 1884 and set sometime between 1835 and 1845. The use of the word ‘nigger’ to describe slaves like Jim is probably quite realistic. Huck is no great thinker and is a bit of simpleton. His impression of Jim is realistic.

Jim and Huck set off on a raft and head for Cairo in Illinois, a free state where Jim intends to buy his enslaved family’s freedom. They meet two con men on their travels who try to pass themselves off as a duke and a king. This leads to much hilarity.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel of its time. Twin does a good job exploring the themes of racism and identity. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a satirical look at 19th century social climate. I think it’s worth a read if only to get a glimpse of a past that no longer exists.

RATING

3 STAR RATING

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