The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is one of my all-time faves. I don’t think I’m alone when it comes to loving this book. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
“All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” – Ernest Hemingway
Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Intended at first as a simple story of a boy’s adventures in the Mississippi Valley – a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - the book grew and matured under Twain’s hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. More than a century after its publication, the critical debate over the symbolic significance of Huck’s and Jim’s voyage is still fresh, and it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor.
Well that pretty much says it all. I honestly can’t remember the first time I read this. But I must have been young since I remember dressing up as Huck for Halloween when I was in the fifth grade. All the other kids were jealous of my corn cob pipe.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t get this novel completely when I was a kid. It’s like the Looney Tune cartoons. Funny to children, but as an adult you see the cartoons through different eyes and understand just how hilarious the stunts are and what the artists were saying about society.
This novel has one of the greatest lines in it, in my opinion. Please note that the following contains a huge spoiler. When Huck thinks that he and Jim will be safe and that Jim will be freed from slavery, Huck realizes that he helped Jim escape. As a slave, Jim is someone else’s property, and Huck essentially stole from that person. He sits down to write a letter to Miss Watson, Jim’s owner, telling her where to find her property. Then he starts to remember his time with Jim. All the fun they had and all the times Jim was there for him. Huck says, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” and then he tears up the letter. The irony is beautiful since Huck learns to see Jim as a man not as a slave, yet he still thinks he’s in the wrong, when in fact, slavery was an abomination.
Several years ago I had the chance to visit Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, Connecticut. At this home, he worked on this masterpiece. It was amazing to stand in the room where Twain wrote parts of Huck Finn. This will sound silly for some, but it was one of the best times of my life. To stand there and soak it in. This week the travel photos show Twain’s house so stayed tune.