Monday, September 26, 2011

Huck Finn Chap 5-20

     Chapter six is a turning point in the story because Huck Finn goes to live with his father out in the swamps by the lake.  He leaves the "civilized" life and ventures into the "uncivilized" life filled with exploring and living off of the land with his father who is drunk a majority of the time.  Huck Finn enjoys this laid back life style and describes it as "...kind of lazy and jolly..." (chapter six).
     Tom Sawyer's character continues to be developed and in chapter seven, the reader discovers that Tom is the fancy, almost romantic sort of character.  The quote from chapter seven describes this perfectly: "I did wish Toy Sawyer was there, I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of business, and throw in the fancy touches." (when he fakes his own death to escape from his abusive father).
     In chapter eight, Huck Finn catches up with Jim who is now a runaway slave.  This is the beginning of their journey together through the swamps down the river.  An important quote is made in chapter eight when Jim is talking about the importance of money and how if only he had money he wouldn't want for anything else.  This is an important aspect of slavery that I think gets overlooked sometimes.  Slaves had nothing as far as resources and money.  If they did, it was very little and certainly not anything substantial.
     Jim develops more as a father figure for Huck as the story continues especially in chapter nine and ten when they discover the dead body.  Jim is very protective of Huck and doesn't allow him to look at the gruesome sight.  He looks out for Huck like his real father should have done.
     In chapter eleven, I thought the scene when Huck pretends to be a runaway girl was very interesting. The woman that he is staying with makes an ironic statement when she says, "You see, you're a runaway 'pretice- that's all.  It ain't anything.  There ain't no harm in it.  You've been treated bad, and you  made up your mind to cut."  She makes this statement because Huck is a white boy.  She previously talked bad about Jim because he was a runaway.  She would never make the same statement about Jim even though he was in the same (if not worse) situation as Huck was pretending to be.  Such irony and inconsistency!  Chapter fourteen also deals with some racism and prejudice in a more overt way when Huck and Jim are discussing the different ways that people talk.  It is obvious that they are not on the same wavelength so to speak.  They view the situation completely differently.  Jim is looking at the heart of the issue asking what makes a man a man.  Huck on the other hand has been taught that because people are different they should be treated differently.  Huck in this scene represents what society was teaching children pre Civil War and how children absorbed that prejudice within the lines but also with their own childish innocence as a guide.
     I feel like chapter fifteen really sealed Jim and Huck's friendship when Huck played a nasty trick on Jim and Jim made it obvious that he did not appreciate it- "en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren's en makes 'em ashamed."  Huck in this situation knows that he did Jim wrong and decides that he will never do such a thing again.
     Juxtaposed to this scene is chapter fifteen when Huck really starts to feel guilty about helping Jim obtain his freedom.  Huck has been taught that freedom for black people is a bad thing and he knows that he is to blame.  He has this mental battle with himself really struggling whether or not to turn Jim in but he finally decides not to mainly because it is too much trouble to do so.
     In chapter sixteen, Jim and Huck become separated and Huck ends up staying with the Grangerfords for a while.  I really enjoyed these chapters because they made me laugh!  It is interesting to me that they were so hospitable to Huck but had a fierce feud with the Shepardsons.  This reminded me of the Early American writings we read.  I suppose some of the hospitality from that time period carried over into Huck's time.  In chapter eighteen an interesting statement is made by Huck's friend Buck Grangerford:  "If you notice, most folks don't go to church only when they've got to."  Obviously religion was more of a burden to the majority of people during Huck's time period more than anything else.  It doesn't really seem like they let it control any major parts of their life.  Huck also reunites with Jim in chapter eighteen. Also in this chapter, Twain paints a true picture of what feuds used to be like and how gruesome and ridiculous they were- "I wished I hadn't ever come ashore that night, to see such things.  I ain't ever going to get shut of them- lots of times I dream about them." (Huck referring to his witness of the feud's consequences).
     It is also obvious throughout this reading that Huck and Jim really enjoy the "uncivilized" life out on the river on his raft.  "We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all.  Other places do seem so ramped up and smothery, but a raft don't.  You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft." (chapter eighteen towards the end).  On the raft, there is not restriction of society for either Huck nor Jim.  They can freely be friends.  Jim is on his road to freedom and Huck doesn't have to go to school or church or have any manners like he did at the Widow's house.
     It chapter nineteen, Huck makes a reference to tar and feathering.  It is obvious that this practice also carried over into his time from early America.  Society's opinion of you still meant a lot to the people of Huck's time and society's approval was something that was taught as imperative to young children like Huck.  The Duke of Bridgewater and The King of France are also introduced.  They are important to this story because they discuss principles of life with Jim and Huck.  They bring in yet another view of society- the rich, privileged section that fell at some point and now have nothing except for valuable stories and life lessons to share with others like Huck and Jim.

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