Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn
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Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain and Huckleberry FinnMr. Moccias Honors/Pre-IB English II
FOUR Pre-Unit Questions 1 minute per questionPonder these questions over the next week feel free to change, tweak, or nuance your opinion throughout the week.
Question 1Do you find songs that use the n-word a lot offensive and does it matter to you the race/color of the singer/songwriter?
Question 2Should we speak out the n word in class if it appears in a text, or should we replace it with slave?Question 3Are there ways in which our society remains racist on any level? Explain your answer either way. (Would you need to be in a minority to know the answer to this?)Question 4Should any literature be censored? If not, why not? If so, when?The BasicsSamuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 April 21, 1910)Faulkner called him the father of American literatureBut this may give us the wrong picture of the man
His Opinion of HimselfTwain saw himself as a heavy-drinking, cigar-smoking, blue-collar, crude contrarian not an elite literary figure This should figure into how we read, analyze, respond to, and interpret his work
Early LifeBorn in Florida, Missouri to a Tennessee country merchantLower/middle classWhen Twain was four, his family moved to Hannibal, a port town on the Mississippi River
Youth to AdultWhen Twain was 11, his father died of pneumoniaAt 18, he left Hannibal and worked as a printer in New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis and CincinnatiHe educated himself in public libraries in the evenings, finding wider sources of information than he would have at a conventional school
Jobs and The ManA steamboat pilot:Twain meticulously studied 2,000 miles of the Mississippi for more than two years before he received his steamboat pilot license in 1859
Miner, journalist, lecturer, type-setter, etc.
Love and MarriageTwain met Charles Langdon, who showed him a picture of his sister Olivia; Twain claimed to have fallen in love at first sight. They met in 1868, were engaged a year later, and married in February 1870 in Elmira, New York
A Man of BeliefHeld strong views on religion, racism, politics, America, etc.Most important, perhaps, are his beliefs concerning racism and slavery
DeathI came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.' His prediction was accurateTwain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth
Ways of Reading Huck FinnGood adventure storyComic satireHistorical narrativeExperimental novelGreat American novel
Vernacular, Regionalism, and the Picaresque Vernacular: language of a specific placeHuck is a young, uncivlized, low-class kid and he writes like he speaksRegionalism: Literature concerned with the specifics of a particular region; unconcerned with its universalityEast-coast America, focusing on the SouthPicaresque novel: an episodic novel about a rogue or picaro (a person of low social status) wandering around and living off his wits.Lens for Reading the NovelSlavery and Racism: Even though the novel is anti-slavery and anti-racist, is it itself racist?Censorship, Offensive Language, and Politically CorrectnessUse of the n wordMoral Compass: personal vs. socialProblems with bothLens, continuedSatireDeeply critical of certain American ideals and ideasSocratic IronyClaiming ignorance on a subject, and then taking a side of an argument in order to reveal its problemsCognitive DissonanceThe unsettling feeling that is a result of holding 2 contradictory beliefs at oncePre-Unit Discussion Questions Is a novel that uses the n word copiously improper? Is taking the word out a good idea?For homework: Should we speak out the n word in class, or replace it with slave?Should we make moral decisions based on what society tells us is right or wrong, or our inner selves? What are potential problems with both of these?What are some examples, past and present, of satire?