The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain’s brilliant 19th-century novel has long been recognized as one of the finest examples of American literature. It brings back the irrepressible and free-spirited Huck, first introduced in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and puts him center stage. Rich in authentic dialect, folksy humor, and sharp social commentary, Twain’s classic tale follows Huck and the runaway...

Title:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author:
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Edition Language:English

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Reviews

  • Matt

    "I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of boy I was, and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart wasn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I wa

    "I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of boy I was, and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart wasn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to [Jim's:] owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie--and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie -- I found that out...

    ...It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: 'All right, then, I'll go to Hell'--and tore it up."

  • Petra Eggs

    This is a rant. I found Huckleberry Finn on my bookshelf had been changed for Huckleberry Finn Robotic Edition. Some very pc "authors" and "editors" took it upon themselves to change the N word

    This is a rant. I found Huckleberry Finn on my bookshelf had been changed for Huckleberry Finn Robotic Edition. Some very pc "authors" and "editors" took it upon themselves to change the N word

    to 'robot'. They then rewrote the book to take away any mention of humans and to 'roboticise' words such as 'eye' which becomes something like 'optical device'. The illustrations have also been changed. I have no problem with this.

    However I have a big problem with the librarians who think think this is close enough to the original that it should be combined and therefore share the ratings of Mark Twain's original book. There was a long discussion in the librarian thread where some librarians thought it was essentially the same book, perhaps most. So it was combined and the edition of the book I read was changed to that one. I DID NOT read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Robotic Edition.

    This robot edition was a Kindle book. Think about it and the danger of these 'authors'. If this is acceptable and it is to a lot of the librarians, why not politically correct Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie (oh she's been done already. It was 10 Little N words, then 10 Little Indians, now it's Then there were 10, lol). Sooner or later print books will be in used bookshops, research libraries and old people's houses. They will become not books to be read but collector's items. For reading it will be the ebook where changes can be easily and instantaneously made.

    And if politically-correcting everything becomes Amazon policy then the whole publishing world will follow and your children will never know the original story that Mark Twain wrote. They will never understand how N word people were treated.

    They will never know that Jim, a grown man who would not normally be expected to hang out with 13 year old boys, kowtowed to Tom and Huckleberry not just because they all liked each other, but because he was not free, he was a slave, property, and was subject to the usual treatment of property. He could be ordered to do anything no matter how stupid or harmful, he could be sold or mistreated not even for punishment but just because he had no human rights whatsoever.

    Changing N people to robots negates all this. Yes it is more politically acceptable to Whites but how would a Black person feel having their history taken away from them? This is not pc as much as sanitising history and is wrong on every level.

    Do you find this acceptable? A lot of GR librarians don't see a damn thing wrong with it. But I do.

    See

  • Nathan Eilers

    Hemingway said American fiction begins and ends with

    , and he's right. Twain's most famous novel is a tour de force. He delves into issues such as racism, friendship, war, religion, and freedom with an uncanny combination of lightheartedness and gravitas. There are several moments in the book that are hilarious, but when I finished the book, I knew I had read something profound. This is a book that everyone should read.

  • Manny

    One of my absolute favourite books, which I have read multiple times. A major classic. If at all possible, get an edition with the original illustrations.

    ___________________________________

    Here in Switzerland,

    hasn't quite had the high profile it's received on its home territory. In fact, I'm embarrassed to admit that I hadn't even heard of it until Jordan gave me a few pointers earlier today. So, no doubt all this has been sa

    One of my absolute favourite books, which I have read multiple times. A major classic. If at all possible, get an edition with the original illustrations.

    ___________________________________

    Here in Switzerland,

    hasn't quite had the high profile it's received on its home territory. In fact, I'm embarrassed to admit that I hadn't even heard of it until Jordan gave me a few pointers earlier today. So, no doubt all this has been said before, but I still can't resist the temptation to add my two centimes worth.

    In case you're as ignorant as I was about hot topics in the literary world, the furore concerns an edition of

    in which the word 'nigger' has been systematically replaced with 'slave'. My initial response was plain surprise. One of the aspects of the book I enjoy most is Twain's appallingly exact ear for dialogue. He's reproducing the language actually used in the American South of the 1840s, and this, above all, is what gives the novel its force; so why on earth would anyone want to change it? For example, here's Huck's Paw in full flow:

    I'm sorry, but I'm honestly unable to see how anyone could think the above passage was racist or might be improved by substituting 'slave' for 'nigger'. It's incidents like this which create the popular European myth that Americans don't understand the concept of irony.

    If you're curious to know more about the tradition of improving great works of literature by removing dubious words, you might want to take a quick look at

    which Jordan and I were giggling over. Bowdler, it turns out, had acted from the best of motives. When he was young, his father had entertained him by reading aloud from Shakespeare; but

    He undertook to create a suitably amended version. Or, to be exact, he got his sister to do it and then gave out the books under his own name. Again, his reasons were unimpeachable: it would have reflected badly on her to admit that she had understood the naughtier passages.

    I won't criticise Dr Bowdler or his equally well-meaning modern followers. I just think it's a shame Mark Twain never had the opportunity to write a story about them.

  • David

    After reading

    , I realized that I had absolutely nothing to say about it. And yet here, as you see, I have elected to say it anyway, and at great length.

    Reading this novel now, at the age of mumble-mumble, is a bit like arriving at the circus after the tents have been packed, the bearded lady has been depilated, and the funnel cake trailers have been hitched to pick-up trucks and captained, like a formidable vending armada, toward the auburn sunset. All the fun has

    After reading

    , I realized that I had absolutely nothing to say about it. And yet here, as you see, I have elected to say it anyway, and at great length.

    Reading this novel now, at the age of mumble-mumble, is a bit like arriving at the circus after the tents have been packed, the bearded lady has been depilated, and the funnel cake trailers have been hitched to pick-up trucks and captained, like a formidable vending armada, toward the auburn sunset. All the fun has already been used up, and I’m left behind circumnavigating the islands of elephant dung and getting drunk on Robitussin®. Same story, different day.

    How exactly did I make it through eight total years of high school and undergraduate studies in English without having read any Mark Twain but a brief (and forgotten) excerpt from

    ? Isn’t this illegal by now? I mean, isn’t there a clause in the Patriot Act... an eleventh commandment... a dictate from Xenu? Isn’t

    , like

    and

    , now an unavoidable teenage road bump between rainbow parties and huffing spray paint? Isn’t it the role of tedious classic literature to add color and texture to the pettiness of an adolescence circumscribed by status updates, muff shaving, and shooting each other? Or am I old-fashioned?

    Let’s face it. In the greater social consciousness, there are two stars of this book: (1) the word 'nigger' and (2) the Sherwood Schwartz-style ending in which Tom Sawyer reappears and makes even the most casual reader wonder whether he might not be retarded.

    Huckleberry Finn, for all his white trash pedigree, is actually a pretty smart kid -- the kind of dirty-faced boy you see, in his younger years, in a shopping cart at Wal-Mart, being barked at by a monstrously obese mother in wedgied sweatpants and a stalagmite of a father who sweats tobacco juice and thinks the word 'coloreds' is too P.C. Orbiting the cart, filled with generic cigarette cartons, tabloids, and canned meats, are a half-dozen kids, glazed with spittle and howling like Helen Keller over the water pump, but your eyes return to the small, sad boy sitting in the cart. His gaze, imploring, suggestive of a caged intellect, breaks your heart, so you turn and comparison-shop for chewing gum or breath mints. He is condemned to a very dim horizon, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, so you might as well buy some Altoids and forget about it...

    That boy is the spiritual descendant of Huckleberry Finn.

    The 'nigger' controversy -- is there still one? -- is terribly inconsequential. It almost seems too obvious to point out that this is (a) firstly a 'period novel,' meaning it that occurs at a very specific historical moment at a specific location and (b) secondly a first-person narrative, which is therefore saddled with the language, perspective, and nascent ideologies of its narrator. Should we expect a mostly uneducated, abused adolescent son of a racist alcoholic who is living in the South before the Civil War to have a respectful, intellectually-enlightened perspective toward black people? Should the character of Huck Finn, in other words, be ahistorical, anachronistic? Certainly not, if we expect any semblance of honesty from our national literature.

    Far more troubling to many critics is the ending of

    , when -- by a freakishly literary coincidence -- Huck Finn is mistaken for Tom Sawyer by Tom’s relatives, who happen to be holding Jim (the slave on the run) in hopes of collecting a reward from his owners. There are all sorts of contrivances in this scenario -- the likes of which haven’t been seen since the golden age of

    -- which ends with Tom arriving and devising a ridiculously elaborate scheme for rescuing Jim.

    All in all, the ending didn’t bother me as much as it bothered some essayists I’ve read. That is, it didn’t strike me as especially conspicuous in a novel which relies a great deal on narrative implausibility and coincidence. Sure, Tom Sawyer is something of an idiot, as we discover, but in a novel that includes faked deaths and absurd con jobs, his idiocy seems well-placed.

    In the end, I suppose the greatest thing I can say about this novel is that it left me wondering what happened to Huck Finn. Would his intellect and compassion escape from his circumstances or would he become yet another bigoted, abusive father squiring another brood of dirty, doomed children around a fluorescently-lit Wal-Mart?

  • Fabian

    THE Greatest American Novel?

    Well...

    No wonder the Spanish think themselves superior with their Quixote, undoubtedly a blueprint for this mischievous Every Boy! Huck Finn is the full embodiment of THE American Fantasy: mainly that dire misconception that the protagonist of the world is you and that everything gravitates around that essential nucleus. Everyone in town thinks Huck dead, and what does he do but follow the tradition of a plot folding unto itself (as Don Q finds his story become medi

    THE Greatest American Novel?

    Well...

    No wonder the Spanish think themselves superior with their Quixote, undoubtedly a blueprint for this mischievous Every Boy! Huck Finn is the full embodiment of THE American Fantasy: mainly that dire misconception that the protagonist of the world is you and that everything gravitates around that essential nucleus. Everyone in town thinks Huck dead, and what does he do but follow the tradition of a plot folding unto itself (as Don Q finds his story become medieval pop culture in Part II of that superior novel) as he disguises himself as a little girl and tries to squeeze information out of some lady about his myth-in-the-making trek. It seems everyone cares for this vagrant, a perpetual Sancho to Tom Sawyer's Quixote, whose redeemable features include (a pre-transcendental) openmindedness and an inclination to live only in the NOW. But the narrator, a very unreliable one at that, surrounds himself with bad bad men, playing the role of accomplice often, always safe and sound under the dragon's wing. Very American in his lemming mentality & in his misconceptions (though about his hometown and wilderness he knows much indeed).

    So: disguise used as an integral plot device several times throughout; brawny men taking a boy hostage; nakedness by the riverbed; costume changes, improvised Shakespearean shows, men almost always described as "beautiful" (and women solely as "lovely")....

    ***GAY!!***

    Yeah, it really is hard to discern the allegory behind all of this hype. The humor is obvious, but I have to admit that this picaresque novel about a boy who avoids "sivilization" at all costs is beaten mercilessly by a more modern, therefore more RELEVANT tale of the South, "Confederacy of Dunces." Although it must be admitted that "Huck Finn" does manage to surpass other often-praised classics, like the droll "Wuthering Heights."

  • Madeline

    I had to read

    in middle school, and I fervently wish that they had made us read

    instead. I mean, I understand why they didn't (giving middle schoolers an excuse to throw around racial slurs in a classroom setting is just asking for a lawsuit from somebody's parents), but

    is better. It's smarter, it's funnier, and Huck's adventures stay with you a lot longer than Tom's, because Huck's experiences were richer and more interesting, whereas

    I had to read

    in middle school, and I fervently wish that they had made us read

    instead. I mean, I understand why they didn't (giving middle schoolers an excuse to throw around racial slurs in a classroom setting is just asking for a lawsuit from somebody's parents), but

    is better. It's smarter, it's funnier, and Huck's adventures stay with you a lot longer than Tom's, because Huck's experiences were richer and more interesting, whereas

    could easily have been titled

    .

    If Tom had to go through half of what happens to Huck in this story, he'd be balled up in the corner crying after five minutes. The action of

    is set in motion when Huck's father shows up and decides that he's going to be responsible for his son now (the story picks up right where

    left off, with Huck and Tom becoming rich, hence Finn Sr.'s sudden involvement in his kid's life). Huck's father essentially kidnaps him, taking him to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and getting drunk and beating his son. Huck escapes by faking his own death (and it's

    ) and begins traveling up the Mississippi river. He runs into Jim, a slave who belonged to the Widow Douglas's sister. Jim overheard his owner talking about selling him, so he decided to run away and try to go north. Huck, after some hesitation, goes with him. From this point, the structure of the book closely mirrors

    : a mismatched pair of companions travels the country, having unrelated adventures and comic intervals. On their travels, Huck and Jim encounter con men, criminals, slave traders, and (in the best mini-story in the book) a family involved in a Hatfields-and-McCoys-like feud with a neighboring clan. The story comes full circle when Tom Sawyer shows up and joins Jim and Huck for the last of their adventures, and the best part of this is that Tom Sawyer's overall ridiculousness becomes obvious once we see him through Huck's eyes.

    Huck is a great narrator, and I think one of the reasons I liked this book more than its counterpart was because it's narrated in first person, and so Huck's voice is able to come through clearly in every word. In addition to the great stories, there are also some really beautiful descriptions of the Mississippi river, as seen in this passage about the sun rising on the river:

    "The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line - that was the woods on t'other side - you couldn't make nothing else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness, spreading around; then the river softened up, away off, and warn't black any more, but grey; you could see little dark spots drifting along, ever so far away - trading scows, and such things; and long black streaks - rafts; sometimes you could hear a sweep screaking, or jumbled up voices; it was so still, and sounds come so far; and by and by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the streak that there's a snag there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes that streak look that way; and you see the mist curl up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the river, and you make out a log cabin on the edge of the woods, away on the bank on t'other side of the river, being a wood-yard, likely, and pulled by them cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres; then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning you from over there, so cool and fresh, and sweet to smell, on account of the woods and the flowers; but sometimes not that way, because they've left dead fish laying around, gars and such, and they do get pretty rank; and next you've got the full day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the song-birds just going it!"

    (also that was one single sentence. Damn, Mark Twain.)

    A fun, deceptively light series of stories that's funny and sad when you least expect it. Well done, The List - you picked a good one, for once.

    ...why are you still here? The review's over.

    Oh, I get it. You want me to talk about the racism, right? You want me to discuss how Huck views Jim as stolen property instead of a person and criticize the frequent use of the N-Word and say "problematic" a lot, right?

    Well, tough titties. I'm not getting involved in that, because it's stupid and pointless, and I'm just going to let Mark Twain's introduction to

    speak for itself, and the work as a whole: "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

  • Ahmad  Ebaid
  • Glenn Sumi

    Why have I never read

    before? Was it Twain’s copious use of the N word? (I vaguely recall a primary school teacher abruptly halting a class read-aloud session, perhaps because of that.) Was it the air of earnest solemnity that surrounds so-called classics? Sheer laziness?

    No matter. I’ve read it now, and I’ll never be the same again. Hemingway was right when he said (and I’m paraphrasing) all American literature comes from Huck Finn. While it’d be entertaining to re

    Why have I never read

    before? Was it Twain’s copious use of the N word? (I vaguely recall a primary school teacher abruptly halting a class read-aloud session, perhaps because of that.) Was it the air of earnest solemnity that surrounds so-called classics? Sheer laziness?

    No matter. I’ve read it now, and I’ll never be the same again. Hemingway was right when he said (and I’m paraphrasing) all American literature comes from Huck Finn. While it’d be entertaining to read as a kid, it’s even more rewarding to approach as an adult.

    Savour that wonderful opening paragraph (and tell me you can't hear Holden Caulfield in the cadences):

    Everything to come is in those opening lines, penned in that distinct, nearly illiterate yet crudely poetic voice. You get a sense of Huck’s humility (compared to Tom Sawyer’s braggadocio); his intelligence; a cute postmodern nod to the author; the idea that storytelling contains “stretchers” but can also tell “the truth”; and the fact that everyone lies, including Huck.

    Huck. He gets into so many tight spots that part of the joy is wondering how he’ll get out of them.

    The outlines of the plot should be familiar: Huck, a scrappy, barely literate boy, flees his abusive, alcoholic father by faking his death and travelling the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers with Jim, an escaped slave, on a raft.

    Huck's gradual awakening to Jim's plight is subtle and touching, never sentimental. In a sense the book chronicles his growing conscience. And the colourful characters he and Jim meet and the adventures they have add up to a fascinating, at times disturbing look at a conflicted, pre-Civil War nation.

    We meet a Hatfields vs. McCoys type situation; a group of rapscallions who put on a vaudeville-style act and try to fleece rubes; a scene of desperation and danger on a collapsed boat. We witness greed, anger and most of the other deadly sins – all from a little raft on the Mississipi. And before the midway point, we see the toll that a cruel joke can have on someone’s feelings.

    To a contemporary reader, some of the humour can feel a little forced, and the gags do get repetitive, particularly when Huck’s savvier, better-read friend Tom enters the scene.

    And then comes a passage like this:

    Wow. You can see, hear and

    what he's describing. Hard to believe this was written more than 150 years ago.

    In the book's closing pages, Huck tells us this:

    Well, gosh, Huck, it war worth all yer trouble. We’re darn glad you dunnit. Yessir.

  • Evgeny

    Ask any person anywhere in the world to give an example of a classic book of US literature and it is a safe bet this one will come out among the top three. The only reason I am going to mention the plot for such famous book is the fact that I always do it; I am not breaking my own tradition in this case. So an orphan boy and a runaway slave travel together in Southern US. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was gradual change in Huck's attitude towar

    Ask any person anywhere in the world to give an example of a classic book of US literature and it is a safe bet this one will come out among the top three. The only reason I am going to mention the plot for such famous book is the fact that I always do it; I am not breaking my own tradition in this case. So an orphan boy and a runaway slave travel together in Southern US. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was gradual change in Huck's attitude towards Jim: he stops regarding the latter as a slave and starts thinking about him as an equal human being.

    There is an obvious anti-racist message in the book. It also happens to have very funny laugh-out-loud moments. It also contains satirical depiction of some aspects of life in small US cities in the early nineteenth century. It contains some very poetic descriptions at times. It also has some sad moments. It is a classic book which is also still fun to read unlike numerous classics I can think of. This is a book which teaches important lessons while still remembering that reading can be fun.

    The book is written in the first person vernacular. This is really the

    example I can think of where it works. It took a genius of Mark Twain to pull it off successfully. If an inspiring author who thinks about using first (or third) person vernacular stumbles upon my review my advice would be - do not, unless you think your writing talent is on the same level as that of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

    The author wrote the novel in such a way that it became controversial countless number of times resulting in its banning it from public libraries and censorship. One would think people would get over these controversies by now, but to nobody's surprise some people still find things in the book to be offended at, just take a look at the latest example:

    I will try to explain to the easily offended hypocrites why they are wrong in the least brain taxing way possible using simple ASCII art:

    This gives me an excellent opportunity to talk about limited copyright terms (it seems to me we are heading for unlimited extension of copyright). Limited copyright term means that regardless of current political climate and resulting censorship we will always have access to a

    unaltered copy of the book as in this case: public wins.

    A lot of people do not appreciate the book because they were forced to read it in high school. If this was your only reading by all means give it another try to get a fresh prospective.

    In conclusion this novel belongs to a relatively rare category of classics consisting of books that do not feel like you do heavy manual labor while you read them. My rating is 4.5 stars rounded up out of my deepest respect for it.

    P.S. The original illustrations are excellent.

    P.P.S. Project Gutenberg has a copy with original illustrations.


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