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ENG250Y1 - M. Twain & K. CHopin - Lecture Notes.docx

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Tony Fong

ENG250Y1 – LECTURE NOTES M. Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn & K. Chopin's The Awakening January 06, 2014 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Introduction: • Twenty years before the Civvil War • The raft connotes freedom, security, happiness, harmony, erasion of boundaries -- but not necessarily for Jim • Novel described as picturesque, the tale is told in first person narrative; very episodic • The duke and the king are pickaroon figures in the novel • Everything deemed to be dark happens on the shore and Huck and Jim escape to the raft as a place of safety and security • Narrative structure is brocaded, a back and forth of action, perceives the action in two perspectives (Huck and beyond Huck's words, that of the author) • Divided into thematic pairs: artificial conventions vs. language , land vs. water, heaven vs. hell, feuds vs. sympathy for the other, accepting inherited prejudices and taking a stand, light vs. dark • Novel is very nationalistic European Traditions as archaic and dangerous: • By taking european things (such as Shakespeare's Hamlet) and turning it something ridiculous • Slow steamboat named Walter Scott signifies the sluggishness • according to Twain, Scott is the reason why the Civvil War started because of Scott's medieval romances; romantic notions caused vendettas • Unnatural to the nature of America • A distaste for romance, chivalry Narrative Structure: • Vernacular is heightened in the novel, the language of the actual people is evident; using the authentic american perspective • Popularity of the novel enabled americans to see that american literature had its own artistic merit; you didn’t need to conform to european traditions • The european past is dead and should not be reawakened • Twain uses a kid like Huck to show that americans are innocent and should not follow or understand yet the archaic traditions of the european tradition • Page 111 o Following traditions or else everything will end up messed up o Refuses to think for himself • Page 250,252 o A tension between community standards and morality Huckleberry: • Immersed in the racist south but maintains his own innocence • Conscience troubles hims deeply when he debates helping Jim obtain his freedom • Morality is constructed by social expectations • Innately knows that Jim is a good man despite the racism he grew up in • Acknowledges that it's easy to follow the authorities, not so easy when you're self-reliant • Page 245 o "it don't make no difference" o The voice of the authorities might not matter, but it does, he just has to make the difference • He learns through Tom Sawyer that he can adjust the expectations and rules given to him by authorities Lynching Scene: • Huck becomes part of the crowd, becomes cowardice, during the lynching scene with Buck Harness • When you become in a crowd, you lose your identity in the crowd • Individuals in a crowd become blind, a single unit, referred to "you" ; there is no distinction anymore • Twain speaks of a nation as a mob, the army as anything but virtuous • The people in the crowd are animal-like "swarming" • Civilization is only an illusion of order; they are not civilized • People are described as average Is the ending of the novel racist? • The novel is using slavery as a metaphor for the human condition, the enslavement of the mind • Is it fair to compare Jim who has been enslaved by force to Huck who purposelessly enslaves his own mind • The end of the novel is about Huck wanting to free himself from Aunt Sally wanting to civilize and raise him • Jim is already freed, so trying to save him was just an accuse for adventure for Huck and Tom •Therefore slavery is an excuse for adventure, is this an ill-use of slavery then? •A sudden regression in Huck •The ending satirizes racism and slavery; although black people at Twain's time were free, they weren't treated as such The Awakening: Introduction: •Reviews for the novel were so bad that Chopin stopped writing and died 5 years later The Male Characters: •Leonce: the husband who gambles whenever he feels like it •Robert: plays the courtly lover to a married women, is acceptable with married women because they'd never give in o Edna is not from around there so she doesn't know the culture of courtship in the Creole society o He is being conventional, but because Edna doesn't know the conventions of where she lives, she interprets differently and acts accordingly Edna Pontellier: •Doesn't take care of her staff and servants •Ignores reception day o Scripted codes in Creole society o Chapter 17 • Regressing to an almost adolescent rebellion o Chapter 22 • What frustrates Leonce is that his wife isn't interacting with other people, doesn't fulfill the role of wife and mother • "Mother" is used as an identity-factor; they are born with it, being a mother was thought as na
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