The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn book cover
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Introduction

So you’re going to teach The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This American classic that has been a mainstay in English classes for generations. Whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time you’ve taken students through the novel, these teaching tips will help ensure that the experience is rewarding for everyone, including you. Teaching Huckleberry Finn, especially from a new perspective, will give students insight into Twain as a satirist and social critic, as well as a novelist, and help them develop an understanding of romanticism and regionalism (local color writing) in 19th-century American fiction. Let’s look at things to keep in mind before you take your students into Twain’s depiction of life along the Mississippi River in the mid-1800s and examine how it impacts young Huck Finn, a runaway orphan, and a fugitive slave named Jim. This guide highlights the text’s most salient aspects to keep in mind before you begin teaching. 

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Facts at a Glance

  • Publication Date: 1884 (UK); 1885 (US) 
  • Recommended Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Approximate Word Count: 109, 600 
  • Author: Mark Twain 
  • Country of Origin: United States of America 
  • Genre: Bildungsroman, Picaresque 
  • Literary Period: 19th-century Romanticism; 19th-century Regionalism 
  • Conflict: Person vs. Society 
  • Narration: First-Person 
  • Setting: Mississippi River and surrounding towns, USA, 1840s 
  • Structure: Prose Novel, Circular 
  • Mood: Satirical, Humorous, Adventurous


Texts That Go Well With The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James is a modern example of local color writing, this time set in 1970s–90s Jamaica and New York. Admirers of carefully transcribed dialect and faithful representation of often overlooked settings discover political tension, criminal violence, and moral quandaries from the perspectives of a variety of narrators. This recommendation is presented with a content notice, since the graphic nature of the content is best suited for mature audiences. 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , the preceding novel by Mark Twain, serves as a lighthearted...

(The entire section is 511 words.)