The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is one of my all-time faves. I don’t think I’m alone when it comes to loving this book. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
“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 The Adventures of 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.
Well that pretty much says it all. I honestly can’t remember the first time I read this. But I must have been young since I remember dressing up as Huck for Halloween when I was in the fifth grade. All the other kids were jealous of my corn cob pipe.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t get this novel completely when I was a kid. It’s like the Looney Tune cartoons. Funny to children, but as an adult you see the cartoons through different eyes and understand just how hilarious the stunts are and what the artists were saying about society.
This novel has one of the greatest lines in it, in my opinion. Please note that the following contains a huge spoiler. When Huck thinks that he and Jim will be safe and that Jim will be freed from slavery, Huck realizes that he helped Jim escape. As a slave, Jim is someone else’s property, and Huck essentially stole from that person. He sits down to write a letter to Miss Watson, Jim’s owner, telling her where to find her property. Then he starts to remember his time with Jim. All the fun they had and all the times Jim was there for him. Huck says, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” and then he tears up the letter. The irony is beautiful since Huck learns to see Jim as a man not as a slave, yet he still thinks he’s in the wrong, when in fact, slavery was an abomination.
Several years ago I had the chance to visit Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, Connecticut. At this home, he worked on this masterpiece. It was amazing to stand in the room where Twain wrote parts of Huck Finn. This will sound silly for some, but it was one of the best times of my life. To stand there and soak it in. This week the travel photos show Twain’s house so stayed tune.
I read them as a kid and I remember loving it and being deeply moved by it. I wonder what it would be like to read it now. I might challenge myself to it.
It was interesting to spot all the things I missed as a kid. His sense of humor is spot on for this book.
Sometimes I become astonished with coincidences.. Yesterday night I was looking for free ebooks in portuguese and I click “mundial classics”.. I didn’t stay that long in that website, because now I have other ebooks to read, but I remenber the title.. And just now I saw your post and I found it very similar. I went back to the same website and here it was ” As Aventuras de Huckleberry Finn”
Now I am pretty curious to read (that’s why I stop reading your post when you said that you’re going to be spoiler.. eheh
Yes, don’t read the spoiler. And don’t you love coincidences–sometimes they give me goosebumps. I hope you enjoy if you read this one. I love it.
Wow I remember reading this oh so many years ago…
It has a way of staying with you.
I should maybe read it again, I remember the name and have an idea of the story, but can’t remember anything else so a reread might just be good…
I recommend it, but it is one of my faves so I’m totally biased.
I remember Tom’s story more than Huck’s, but that’s down to reading both when I was very young. Time for a re-appraisal!
I probably should reread Tom’s story at some point. It was years ago.
The only better American novel may be Moby Dick (Depends on the year which one is first and which one is first -).
When and if you do reread Tom, remember it is truly a children’s book ( a great one). The Hobbit to LOTR.
I remember Tom being much simpler–nothing against that. I haven’t read Moby Dick yet. I’m a little unsure of it, but it is on my list.
I also read this when I was much younger. I think this is one of those books that I need to retread as an adult.
I highly recommend it.
Yeah, hard not to love this novel. I must have read it last when I was in junior high. Thanks for the reminder about Huck’s great line.
Hope your week is going well, TB! Looking forward to the photos.
Hugs from Ecuador,
it’s one of those lines that makes me stop and think. My week is off to a decent start. Hope you’re having a blast.
Love that book and loved Tom Sawyer, too. In TS is the best opening line ever. Who can’t read on when the first line is “Tom!” No answer. “Tom!” No answer. Perhaps it’s my love for both those novels that I was led to do my master’s thesis on the author reader relationships in the picaresque genre that originated in Spain with Lazarillo de Tormes, El Buscón and found expression with Moll Flanders in English and El periquillo sarniento in Mexico. The scene you recounted above is classic to the picaresque genre. The pícaro, a rogue in society, usually if not always wins over its readers. What a delight to read your post and what HF means to you.
that sounds like a fun thesis to work on. I need to look into the works you mentioned. I know Moll Flanders is on my list, but not sure about the others. Huck is a great character: one that makes me laugh, cheer for, and cry.
Mark Twain was a really great author. I love the way he puts humor with serious meanings and reality into his stories. My favorite would have to be A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! 🙂 And also, I’ll be waiting for your photos of Twain’s house! 🙂
I haven’t read that one yet. Adding it to my list!
It doesn’t sound silly to me at all how you felt standing in Mark Twain’s house. I totally understand! It’s like how incredibly moved I felt when I stood in Anne Frank’s tiny bedroom and imagined her sitting there writing in her diary. I was overcome with emotion.
Oh Anne Frank’s house was an emotional experience for me. As soon as the tour wrapped up, I headed to the bathroom to blow my nose and dab my eyes. No one should every experience what she and her family experienced. And then she died right before liberation. Heartbreaking!
I know. I had many teary moments, but I think my worst was at the end in the room where you see the actual diary in a glass case, and there is the life size photo of her father years later staring off in deep thought. I couldn’t imagine what he must have gone through when he found out he was the sole survivor of his family. I looked at that photo and couldn’t stop the tears.
I have to admire the father. He stayed strong and made sure the world learned about the diary. Not sure I would have after all of that. I may have just given up and disappeared and never dealt with humans again.
Yes, me too! Actually, I feel like that about all of the survivors. To have to try and resume normal lives after that – wow!
Now I feel like reading Sophie’s Choice. Oh boy did that movie make me cry.
Oooh, I haven’t read that in years. Damn, there are just too many books to read LOL!
That’s why I drink lots and lots of tea. I’d rather read than sleep. Speaking of, I’m going to make a fresh cup.
Oh, how I wish I could stay awake longer at night to read :(. It’s just that reading relaxes me so completely that I always fall asleep!!
Insomnia has some perks
I love the character Jim and how Huck transforms into more of an adult than the adults around him.
yes! This becomes more apparent when Tom reenters the story near the end.
i remember reading this book and thinking what a great adventure it would be while still realizing i’d never make it on my own like he could. independence sounded out of reach.
I have often wondered how it would have felt to float on the Mississippi like Huck and Jim.
I decided to become Mark Twain’s fan after reading several chapters of this novel. I love the style so much, the boyish tone! 😀
He has his own flair.
I’ve yet to read this. My grade school was not big on assigning us the classics, possibly because the nuns that taught us were all senile bats. My high school was Holy Slut High and their goal was to reduce the number of pregnancies. Your overview of this novel makes me want to read it, but I am so behind in so much right now I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures. I’m much better at making time for watching.
My school didn’t force us to read many classics either. The Better Half who went to a much smaller school, receive a much better education. I’m pretty sure I read this on my own and not for school.
Holy Slut High–I love it.
I devoured Mad Magazine and when I entered my teens, the National Lampoon, on my own. That admission says all you need to know about the way my mind works: basically, it doesn’t.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I also loved Mad Magazine.
In my formative years it was what I considered great literature.
A great book — truly one of the greatest novels of our time. I cannot wait for my son to read it. He’s almost done Harry Potter (he’s 9) and I am chomping at the bit for him to finish so I can get him started on this one. I’ve even been letting him stay up late to read — whoops! But I love that I birthed a reader!! I can’t help it.
I’ll be happy if he chooses Treasure Island too. Or Call of the Wild.
Thank goodness he already The Hobbit in the summer of the poor kid would never get sleep with all the books I keep passing to him!
I loved the Harry Potter series. I haven’t read Call of the Wild (it’s on my 1001 list), but Treasure Island and The Hobbit are must reads for a 9 year old. Oh I’m so excited for him. Sleep? Do readers need sleep?
Thank you, TBM. Somehow I missed reading this great book, and have always intended to correct that grave omission. The time is now.
I hope you enjoy!
Great review, you’ve enticed me to read Huck Finn again!
Have read it many times..and have always loved it
It’s such a great book.
I remember reading this book in high school and enjoying it a lot. I really need to purchase my own copy someday so I can re-read it…
Not sure if you like ebooks, but it’s free on Amazon.
I do like ebooks! Thanks for the heads-up. 🙂
I’ve been reading more on my Kindle since I can adjust the font. My eyes are getting old 😉
I think it is great to reread the classics as an adult. You tend to get so much more out of them.Mark Twain had an amazing way with words.
yes he did and it makes you wonder how much he meant what he said.
I had to read this at school as a pre-teen. I recall enjoying it, but nothing whatsoever about the story. Perhaps time for a reread.
I believe Mark Twain visited Walworth, Lomdon.
Really. I knew he was abroad for quite some time after experiencing financial difficulties, but didn’t know he went to Walworth. I need to look into that.
I did read this as a kid…but it looks like I will have to try again. Though with over 600 books on my kindle the pressure is getting to me. You’re right you know…insomnia is a blessing…tehe…now, what’s this I hear about you swanning around over at Isobel’s ???? Hope you are dry and safe…and WTH is a wind up radio ???
600! I never thought I would like a kindle but now that book lovers can have 600 books with them at all times, what’s not to like.
Isobel and I met for real a couple of years ago and have become buddies. She’s a lovely lady and has helped me settle into this new country. And she knows some really good pubs. The sun is out today and not a cloud in the sky. not sure how long it will last but for now all of us are enjoying it. Have a great weekend.
I was quite snobbish about the whole ‘kindle’ idea at first…now I am besotted with the thing. And there are so many free books out there. I can even borrow from my library these days. I just added a whole slew of research books for The Book. And with the one The Daughter got me it is like a mini laptop, so if I go somewhere and don’t want to drag the laptop…the kindle helps me keep up with blogs, research sites, I can check facebook [maybe not really a good thing], listen to music, even write…so long as it isn’t great swags of stuff.
So glad the sun is out for you lot. Now…please…explain the bloddy ‘wind up radios’, if you will.
I have no idea about the wind up radio. Will ask Isobel the next time we meet.
read this book when I was about 12 and loved it–thanks for reminding me of it
My pleasure. It’s a wonderful book!
I’m glad this one is on my Classics Club List, but I just looked and for some reason I only have this one and Roughing It and surprisingly not The Adventures of Tom Sawyer even though I think I’ve read this one and not it.
I haven’t read Roughing It, but I think my next Twain book will be Life on the Mississippi.
I heard so much of this but haven’t read it yet. I think I have seen a movie of this once but coyldn’t remember anymore.
Isn’t Mark Twain also the writer of Oliver? I havr tried reading that one and stopped after 5 pages.
Do you mean Oliver Twist? Dickens wrote that one. Twain wrote Tom Sawyer and a few others.
Ah!! No wonder I couldn’t finish Oliver. I’ll try Twain then after my current book then.
I hope you enjoy!
I’m with you on every word. It’s been so many years since I read Huckleberry Finn and I really want to reread this book. It’s interesting that you mentioned you had such a different experience when you read it the first time. I know The Great Gatsby went completely over my head when I read it in high school. Maybe it’s a disservice to teenagers and they shouldn’t read these classics until they’re in college.
The Great Gatsby is probably my favorite book. It’s hard to say for sure since ten others just popped into my head–but it’s a wonderful book. I didn’t read it until college and I think I was still too young.