I read this novel in part for the Literature Seminar of American, World, British. This novel was read mainly by choice as opposed to required reading. The book is circa 19th century literature, and deals with an very important time period in American History-- North vs. South, slave trade, human rights for African Americans and so forth. Back in January, CBS released a news story regarding censorship in Twain's novel. Apparently the word "nigger" is used almost 300 times, which I personally feels adds to the historical character of the book. In my personal reading experience, the context of this word is never really used in a derogatory manner.
Watch the news report "Huck Finn Censored"!
The story is an episodic narrative about an orphan Huck Finn who runs away from his drunk father who constantly abuses and uses him. Huck Finn was adopted by two widow sisters who tried to civilize him to no avail. He spends about 90% of the novel rafting south on the Mississippi river with his "friend"Jim, a runaway slave.
Normally, runaway slaves attempt to escape to the North, but ironically, in Twain's story both of them start in Missouri heading south. The pace of the book is as relaxed as the characters in it. Twain's use of African American southern dialect makes for slow reading, but to balance the slow pace of the book-- Huck and Jim come across very interesting and eclectic characters in different episodes of their journey. This novel gives reader's a very realistic portrayal of American South, and even a look into Twain's own life as well. The image of steamboat should always been associated with Twain just like a Seattle ferryboat would be associated with Dr. McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy.
- attempting to help Jim runaway to become "free"
- help Huck escape abusive father, the older ladies who want to "sivilize" him
- allow Huck to find closure when finding his father dead (sorry for the spoiler)
- continuously giving Huck adventures so he can experience more things like his friend, Tom Sawyer