3. Describe themes in the novel and trace their development throughout the text.

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1 Have you Ever Wanted to Run Away? Do you crave adventure? Have you ever wanted to run away from your life? If so, you have something in common with Huckleberry Finn. Like you, Huck Finn sometimes constrained by his life and his guardians hopes of civilizing him. Even while on the run, though, Huck struggles with how his disappearance affects the people he cares about. Yet he continues on his adventure which eventually allows him to grow and mature. Be a Better Reader As you work through the study guide for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you will practice these skills, which will help you when you read novels in the future, for school assignments or just for fun. 1. Describe the development of the main character. 2. Discuss how the plot develops throughout the novel. 3. Describe themes in the novel and trace their development throughout the text. 4. Cite textual evidence to support discussion of the novel. 5. Discuss how point of view affects the content of the novel. Behind the Scenes When Mark Twain composed The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1884, the novel entered an America still reeling from The Civil War and its effects of slavery. Racism remained pervasive throughout the United States even as the country economically recovered from the war. In coining this period The Gilded Age, Twain intimated that the country s problems were brushed over with gold, as opposed to addressing and dealing with them. Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn as a sequel to his very popular The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which he published in While Tom Sawyer takes on a light-hearted tone of boyish adventure, Huckleberry Finn is often met with and still continues to generate controversy due to its perceived hypocritical portrayal of the South and use of derogatory language. Get This! 1. Think about how slavery is addressed in the novel and see if you can discover Huck Finn s attitude toward slavery. 2. While Huckleberry Finn experiences very little formal education, he gains a moral education throughout the course of the novel. Notice how Huck s morality evolves and what events and choices influence those changes. 3. The Mississippi River plays a central role in the novel and almost acts as a character itself. See if you can figure out what the Mississippi symbolizes to Huck and in the novel itself.

2 The Plot Mark Twain s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn follows the adventures of an independent boy who resists being civilized. During the course of the novel, Huckleberry matures while learning about himself, as well as some hard truths about life. As you read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn fill in the boxes for each element of the story s plot.

3 The Characters Huckleberry Finn meets a multitude of colorful characters as he journeys through the novel. Draw a picture of each character listed. Then describe the importance of each character s role in the box beneath each picture. Huckleberry Finn Jim Tom Sawyer Widow Douglas & Miss Watson Pap Duke and the Dauphin

4 The Setting The Mississippi River plays a key role in the novel. To Huck, the Mississippi looks like an endless parade of adventures. To Jim, the Mississippi symbolizes a journey to freedom. While journeying down the Mississippi, Huck and Jim make themselves at home on a raft. Locate five passages from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that refer to the Mississippi River and/or to Huck and Jim s raft. List each passage and then explain what the author is trying to convey through it. Excerpts about the Mississippi River What the Author is Trying to Convey

5 Tracking Themes What message is Mark Twain trying to communicate in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? The main themes in novel involve racism and slavery, as well as Huck Finn s moral education. See if you can identify and analyze those themes. Step 1: What parts of the plot seem related to a possible theme in the novel? (Think about the main conflict and how it get resolved or worked out.) Step 2: Which characters seem related to a possible theme? Which characters change, and what do those changes suggest about racism and a moral education? Step 3: How does the author use symbols to hint at the novel s themes? What objects, people, or places stand for something bigger in the story? Step 4: What does the novel s title suggest about the novel s theme? Step 5: Write one or two of the novel s main themes in your own words.

6 Talk About It What do you think about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Could you identify with Huck as he observed and made judgments about the characters he encountered? Did you agree with Huck s decision to strike out on his own at the end of the novel, or did you think that he should have stayed in St. Petersburg? In the space below each question, write an answer based on your own experiences and your own understanding of the novel. Include some textual evidence or examples that helped you arrive at your answer. 1. While in St. Petersburg and during his trip down the Mississippi River, Huck observes the people with whom he comes in contact and makes judgments about them and their actions, all the while formulating his own moral education. Provide some examples of how Huck receives a moral education through the course of the novel. Textual Evidence or Examples: 2. At the end of the novel, Huck chooses to strike out on his own, rather than return to the civilized society of St. Petersburg. Do you agree or disagree with Huck s decision? Why or why not? Why do you think that he made this decision? Textual Evidence or Examples:

7 Represent! Show what you know about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and its relevance to life in the 21 st century. Choose one of these projects to complete and share with your teacher, classmates, and others. Choice 1: 21 st -Century Huck Huckleberry Finn s adventure on the Mississippi River and the characters he meets along the way are firmly grounded in the late 19 th century and would most likely not occur in the 21 st century. If Mark Twain set The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in today s world, what kind of journey would Huck take? Where would he go and how would he get there? Who would he encounter along the way? Create a modern-day version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. You may create a written or a video version. Be sure to think about where Huck would travel in today s world and how he would get there. Would he use any technology in his journey, and would he travel alone or with a companion? Choice 2: Huckleberry Finn as a Quest The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is classified as a picaresque novel, a story composed of episodes that focus on a journey or a quest. Huckleberry Finn is not the first literary character to enjoy a quest. Think of other films, plays, short stories, or novels that send its main character on a quest. Create an art project that illustrates some of these characters and their quests. In your visual display, include maps and objects that symbolize each character s quest. Be prepared to explain why you selected each character, as well as how his/her quest affected him.

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