Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Banned Book)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
"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 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.

John Seelye's introduction discusses the context from which the novel emerged.

I was a bit surprised when I saw this book on the banned book list; especially since I read this one at least once as a kid and thoroughly enjoyed it. But again, quite a few books are on the list that I have and enjoyed. And some that have been on my TBR.
Even though I read this as a child I obviously wanted to refresh my memory for my review for banned book week:)
This book, I believe is one of the greatest of American Literature. Though there is some confusion surrounding this story by Mark Twain; like the character Jim, because I think he was one of the first black men to have a multi dimensional character in a book; especially at that time; I could be wrong...
Jim was an important character in the book, but he was secondary. Obviously Huck is the star of the book; hence the title of this great book.
Also, I do remember this book, especially in the beginning was challenging to read because of the folksy language and bad grammar. But once I got past that I did well. Like reading Pride & Prejudice or Pilgrims Progress- after you get more accustomed to the vernacular, it is much easier to read, but in the beginning it takes you a few minutes because you are needing to switch your brain to old English.
But all these things along with the creative spelling give Huck his personality and tell you where he is from. Giving him a voice.
I love that this story was intended and meant to be about a young boy and his adventures in Mississippi Valley ( Sequel to Tom Sawyer) but the book grew with maturity as Mark Twain added layers, depth, complexity and richness to the story.

 I recommend this book to all and I look forward to re-reading this book again someday. 


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite all time books and I hate the thought that some people don't get why it is such an important part of American history.

Anonymous said...

I also read this back when I was in school. I haven't read it in YEARS. I should definitely give it a re-read one of these days :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Great thoughts on this book. I have it on the shelf but have yet to read it... this week would be a good week to do that.

Thanks for participating in Banned Book Week!

Unknown said...

I'm currently reading Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, which was banned for similar reasons as Huckleberry Finn. I wonder sometimes whether people really think their children are so ignorant that they won't recognize the context of the racism in these books? They teach kids about the evils of racism...they don't teach kids to BE racists. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Excellent review! I love what you said about Twain writing about his childhood and adding layers and richness to create a mature novel.

The Relentless Reader said...

Wonderful review :) I love this book and haven't read it in much too long!

Mona said...

I haven't read this book but was surprised to learn that a book about a young boy's adventures could be challenged.

I agree that sometimes a book's language and/or writing style sometimes make them difficult to read. But the language adds to the authenticity. Hubby read Gone With The Wind years ago and had the same problem but he persevered and finished it. He gave me the book as a birthday gift the year we were married. I haven't finished it yet(started it but...) but intend to keep it forever for sentimental reasons.