Little Women Book Report


Mark Twain^s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel about a young boy^s
coming of age in the Missouri of the mid-1800^s. It is the story of Huck^s
struggle to win
freedom for himself and Jim, a Negro slave. ^Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
was Mark

Twain^s greatest book, and a delighted world named it his masterpiece. To
knowing it well - Huck riding his raft in every language men could print - it
was America^s
masterpiece^ (Allen 259). It is considered one of the greatest novels
because it conceals
so well Twain^s opinions within what is seemingly a child^s book. Though
condemned as inappropriate material for young readers, it soon became prized
for its
recreation of the Antebellum South, its insights into slavery, and its
depiction of
adolescent life. The novel resumes Huck^s tale from the Adventures of Tom

which ended with Huck^s adoption by Widow Douglas. But it is so much more.
this book the world called his masterpiece, Mark Twain put his prime purpose,
one that
branched in all his writing: a plea for humanity, for the end of caste, and
of its cruelties^
(Allen 260).

Twain, whose real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was born in Florida,

Missouri, in 1835. During his childhood he lived in Hannibal, Missouri, a

Mississippi river
port that was to become a large influence on his future writing. It was

Twain^s nature to
write about where he lived, and his nature to criticize it if he felt it
necessary. As far his
structure, Kaplan said,
^In plotting a book his structural sense was weak; intoxicated by a hunch,
he seldom saw far ahead, and too many of his stories peter out from the
author^s fatigue or surfeit. His wayward techniques came close to free
association. This method served him best after he had conjured up
characters from long ago, who on coming to life wrote the narrative for
him, passing from incident to incident with a grace their creator could
never achieve in manipulating an artificial plot^ (Kaplan 16).

His best friend of forty years William D. Howells, has this to say about

Twain^s writing.
^So far as I know, Mr. Clemens is the first writer to use in extended
writing the fashion we all use in thinking, and to set down the thing that
comes into his mind without fear or favor of the thing that went before or
the thing that may be about to follow^ (Howells 186).

The main character, Huckleberry Finn, spends much time in the novel floating
down the Mississippi River on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim. Before
he does so,
however, Huck spends some time in the fictional town of St. Petersburg where
a number
of people attempt to influence him. Huck^s feelings grow through the novel.

in his feelings toward his friends, family, blacks, and society. Throughout
the book, Huck
usually looks into his own heart for guidance. Moral intuition is the basis
on which his
character rests.

Before the novel begins, Huck Finn has led a life of absolute freedom. His
drunken and often missing father has never paid much attention to him; his
mother is dead
and so, when the novel begins, Huck is not used to following any rules. In
the beginning
of the book Huck is living with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss

Watson. Both
women are fairly old and are incapable of raising a rebellious boy like Huck


However, they attempt to make Huck into what they believe will be a better
boy. ^The

Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but
it rough
living in the house all the time considering how dismal regular and decent
the widow was
in all her ways^ (Twain 11). This process includes making Huck go to school,
him various religious facts, and making him act in a way that the women find
acceptable. In this first chapter, Twain gives us the first direct example
of communicating
his feelings through Huck Finn: ^After supper, the Widow Douglas got out her
book and
learned me about Moses...By and bye she let it out that Moses had been dead a
considerable long time; so then I didn^t care no more about him, because I
don^t take no
stock in dead people^ (Twain 12). In a letter written by Twain, he had this
to say: ^As to
the past, there is but one good thing about it, and that is, that it is the
past -- we don^t
have to see it again...I have no tears for my pile, no respect, no reverence,
no pleasure in
taking a rag-picker^s hood and exploring it^ (Bellamy 156). Twain