The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn eText - Reading Pointers for Sharper Insights

Mark Twain

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Reading Pointers for Sharper Insights

To better appreciate The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and understand why most critics believe it is the quintessential American novel, we need to look at some of the concepts that Twain explores.

  1. How does the relationship between Huck and Jim change throughout the novel and why is this significant?

  2. How do the raft and the shore symbolize civilization and freedom, respectively? What does Twain's message about civilization seem to be? Is he cynical about what civilization has brought to America?

  3. What is the correlation between Huck's adventures on shore and his loss of innocence?

  4. Examine Twain's development of the following motifs:

  5. How do the various dialects contribute to the authenticity and feel of the text?

  6. How is the text influenced by having the story told through the eyes of the main character, Huck Finn, a twelve-year old, unschooled, mischievous boy?

  7. What are Twain's criticisms of traditional concepts of religion?

  8. Notice the objects of Twain's satire:

    • sentimentality (being influenced more by emotion than reason) and gullibility (being easily tricked, cheated, or fooled)

    • the average man

    • romantic literature, with its mournful subject matter in poetry and its ridiculous plots in novels

    • a code of honor that results in needless bloodshed and complexities