Friday, August 20, 2010

September 2010: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Read all about the book here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventures_of_Huckleberry_Finn


For Further Reading: Huck Finn was originally written as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Why not read that too?

(PS. You have to watch this AFTER reading the book!)


Discussion Questions:
  1. General impressions. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
  2. What can you learn about pre-Civil war Americana in the South by examining the mannerisms and vernacular of the three main characters - Huck Finn, Jim and Tom Sawyer?
  3. Why do you think Twain used a boy, instead of a man, as his protaganist?
  4. The "n" word is used repeatedly throughout the novel; however, the book wouldn't have been an authentic reflection of its time and place if this word had been side-stepped. Discuss the use of the "n" word and it's effect on you.
  5. I (being the Read It and Eat author, Sarah Gardner) want to believe that society is better able to understand the role of provocative themes in literature; however, this book continues to be challenge. Why do people still have issues with it?
  6. This book is #5 on the most challenged books of all time list. Do you think it deserves that spot? Should we read it? Why or why not? Should it be studied at schools (Guido?) and why or why not?
  7. Twain uses a lot of humor in his novel, even (or especially) concerning serious subjects. Was there a laugh-out-loud moment for you? What was it?
  8. Huck and Tom are masters at cooking up schemes and getting out of sticky situations, and their success is largely the result of their amazing ability to be creatively deceptive. Which incidences best demonstrate Huck and Tom's inventiveness? Do you have any similarly inventive stories from your younger days?
  9. Mark Twain's years as captain of a steamer are obvious in his rich descriptions of the Mississippi River. What did you learn about the river in this book - it's physical features? Its role in transportation? What symbolic function does the river play in the story and the development of its themes?
  10. The characters in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn all have very distinctive ways of speaking. How can language and dialect develop a character for the reader? Give an example of another novel where language and dialect play a similar role?
  11. The Duke and Dauphin, whose behavior ranges from comic to cruel, are important to the development of the book. What beliefs and practices, commom at the time that the book was set, were exposed through these characters? Aside from eventually being tarred and feathered, what do you think became of them beyond the end of the story?
  12. This novel is called "Adventures" and not "THE Adventures" because Twain intended to write another book about Huck. What do you think he may have written about Huck as an adult?
  13. We read through our own "cultural lenses". Is it fair to label Twain as racist and anti-racist based on how we read his book today? What do you think he intended his message to be?

Meeting Details:
We will be meeting at Thea's house on Thursday, September 23rd at 7:30 PM, with the discussion starting promptly at 8:00.

Menu: "Along the Mississippi"

appetizers:
  • mississippi six - Chandra
  • mississippi hot caviar-
dessert:
  • mississippi mud pie -
  • mississippi mud brownies - Kate
Drinks (including iced tea, of course) - Thea

Please feel free to sign up here anytime... Thea- can you make sure that the menu is taken care of when you send out a reminder email a week before the meeting?

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