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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

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Do you agree with Julius Lester's critique of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Why?

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In order to help you answer this question, I need to know the title of the critique to which you are responding. For example, Julius Lester wrote an article called "Morality and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," which appeared in The Mark Twain Journal in 1984. Lester describes visiting the boyhood home of Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri, and being turned away from every hotel in town because he and his family were African American. He relates that experience to the moral implications of Twain's novel.

To respond to Lester's critique, focus on a few specific arguments he makes. For example, Lester argues that literature cannot be separated from morality and that the novel's depiction of race is both inaccurate and "dangerously, fatally seductive." Readers are likely to accept the novel's message without giving the necessary consideration to the complexities of race relations. Lester points out that Twain makes a faulty comparison between Huck and Jim, portraying them both as slaves. While Huck is abused by his father, he still has privileges that slaves such as Jim do not.

Your job is to take part in the conversation about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that Lester has begun. You might consider whether Lester's response to the novel is different from your own. Does he bring up issues that you failed to consider? Are there issues that Lester has also failed to consider? Cite specific quotes from Lester's article as well as specific quotes from the novel to illustrate why you agree or disagree with his arguments.

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