EN 2230 Lecture Notes - Tall Tale, Jab

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26 Jan 2013
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn November 21
Huck doesn't like socializing, he loves being alone and loves being outside of civilized convention
Public Huck is pressured to conformity, to racism (treating Jim as property); private Huck
respects Jim and dislikes conformity
Huck is always lying in the book; he knows he has to lie in the public society if he wants to
protect his private self
This novel is in part a satire
Addresses the duality of appearance and reality
Provocative when it was published, and still is today
Huck: his father is out of the picture; he's governed by a group of women who impose rules on
him, which he hates - he hates all the rules, hates being inside all the time, feels much better
when he's closer to nature
p. 1278 - ideological resistance; satirical - once he finds out Moses has been dead a long time, he
dismisses him b/c he doesn't think he's relevant, you don't need authorities/old books to tell
you how to live; Huck doesn't simply say no to the social world and everything - he's curious, he
loves the outdoors, leisure, contemplating the universe on his own solitary terms
Huck tests the authority of those around him; he's told that if he prays he'll get what he wants -
doesn't get what he wants so he's disillusioned and says he's not going to rely on that
p. 1286 - genies & lanterns; Huck gives up on the idea of genies; again, testing conventions and
deciding he's not going to conform to such things; Mark Twain here makes a jab at organized
religion; he has experiences that are directly contrary to what he's been told
p. 1291 -
p. 1299 - brief transparent eyeball experience; it can only be brief because people are going to
come back; interrupted by a 'boom' - means people are coming back
Twain repeats the conventions of a minstrel show (put on by whites in the 40s)
Scene where Jim speaks about things typically thought about by white people - made satirical
here, plays on the stereotypes about black people not knowing about these things
p. 1325 - Jim proves himself as an equal in arguing with Huck here; this is the start of the
humanization of Jim
p. 1329 - Huck and Jim on the raft escaping their culture (Jim has heard that he's going to be
sold and moved away from his family so he runs away so he can try and get money to move his
Huck doesn't stop using the N-word, he doesn't call Jim 'friend'; he comes a long way from the
way he started off - from the moment he could understand what people were saying, Huck was
told that black people were not equal to white people; he recognizes that Jim feels pain and that
he owes Jim something
p. 1331 - Huck comes across a group of men who have been drinking and are boasting; about
performance and splits in identity; it's mainly here because it's fun - Twain's playing on the
tradition of tall tale boasting
p. 1338 -
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