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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

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How does cultural diversity feature in Huck Finn and how does the 1884 time period influence it?

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Mark Twain gives the reader a look at a wide variety of mid-19th century cultures during The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We meet the middle-class townspeople of St. Petersburg and backwoods citizens of tiny towns downriver. Twain gives us a glimpse of the lives of slaves, scoundrels, and runaways. He shares a look at the lifestyles along the Mississippi River during the height of riverboat travel. Soon, the locomotive would replace the steamboats and paddlewheelers as the primary form of transportation, and before Twain's death, he would witness the invention of the automobile. Slavery was in its last days, as was the peace along the Mississippi--the dividing line for slave and free states--that would soon be the site of some of the Civil War's most desperate fighting (Vicksburg). Following the war, the slaves would be delivered their freedom, but by the time of the novel's release, Reconstruction would be in full bloom and the former slaves would find other restrictions and obstacles (including the KKK) to overcome.

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