The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn book cover
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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Throughout Huckleberry Finn a variety of lies are told. Discuss which seem to be useful and which harmful. Why?

2. How do the King and the Duke take advantage of society? Contrast them with Huck and Jim.

3. Death is everywhere in the book, from Huck's make-believe murder of himself, to his father's corpse in the floating house, the feud, Emmeline Grangerford's art, and the Wilks funeral. Does this make the book morbid? How does Huck handle his fear and understanding of death?

4. Huck tells a series of lies about his family. What do these reveal? How does he seek a sense of belonging?

5. At first Jim seems to be a simple character. What are some ways in which the author develops him?

6. How does Jim serve as a father figure to Huck? Contrast him with Pap Finn.

7. Pap Finn thinks only about himself, and at the beginning of the book Huck seems self-interested too. How is Huck brought to consider others?

8. The Grangerfords are "civilized" but engage in meaningless slaughter. How do Huck's impressions of them convey the author's social criticism?

9. Many critics have found flaws with the novel's ending. Do you believe it undercuts or contributes to the book? Why?