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Thread: Odd things in Huck Finn

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Odd things in Huck Finn

    There were one or two things in the book that struck me as odd:

    1. Jim sometimes calls Huck 'honey'. As a boy, I would not have appreciated anyone calling me 'honey', and especially not a grown man, not even my father.
    2. In the last part of the book, Tom Sawyer arrives and takes over. I thought it was a bit weird them engaging in all the elaborate escape preparations based on adventure books. Jim is quite a patient fellow, but I was surprised he put up with it. I am surprised Huck went along with it, because he seemed a bit more mature than Tom.
    3. I was surprised by Jim's long-suffering nature. He did complain about being tied up on the raft, but apart from that he had to spend long periods of time on his own waiting by the raft, while Huck and the others got up to things in the towns and villages. Then he had to spend several weeks held captive, mainly by himself on Aunt Sally's farm. He must have been bored witless.



    How old is Huck in the book? I imagine him being about fourteen, but on book-covers he usually looks younger.
    Last edited by kev67; 04-27-2018 at 04:32 PM.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    As usually, it´s a very long time ago I read the book. I had to resort to wikipedia to remember the plot.

    I don´t have an answer for the treatment of "honey", which is usually bestowed on women. Maybe it is just one affectionate form which was in use at that time.

    About Jim´s captivity and the game it is turned into:
    The relationship between Jim and Huck exposes the contradiction of 19 C good white men of that region (Mississipi is still south I believe) towards slavery. On the one hand and specially at the beginning of their joint escape, Huck feels very guilty about fleeing with someone elses (In this case Miss Watson´s) property. As he gets closer to Jim, the friendship bonds overrides the racial prejudice with which Huck (and everybody in his town) grew up. For me, perhaps the most beautiful passage of the book is when Huck decides to free his friend from his new owners even if this act condemns him to hell. This shows how morally sound the son of the drunkard is and puts him on a much higher ethical position than Tom Sawyer, which had all the facilities that can be got from secular and church education.
    In fact it is this same Tom Sawyer, that hinders Jim`s immediate freedom, by not disclosing that the slave is already free. He prefers to play his elaborate games even if Jim´s freedom is retarded because of that. I myself don´t like Tom´s behavior in this episode. But Jim, who is good natured, likes the boys and thinks he has to hide away anyway, consents to the game. At first look this part is very funny, at second much less.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 04-29-2018 at 01:52 PM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Good points.

    When it came to the last part, I thought the crisis was going to be that by freeing Jim, Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas were going to lose $40 or more. But it seems that they were not actually poor, so Huck's conscience should not have bothered him about that.

    Another thing I thought odd is that Tom's escape preparations were based on childish motives, but were very, very labour intensive. It just seems unrealistic.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    If I rightly remember all the sequel of Jim´s captivity and escape where based on Dumas´ novel "The man with the iron mask" which Tom had read. They even put a mask on Jim.

    "The Man in the Iron Mask has also appeared in many works of fiction, most prominently in the late 1840s by Alexandre Dumas. A section of his novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, the final installment of his D'Artagnan saga, features the Man in the Iron Mask. Here the prisoner is forced to wear an iron mask and is portrayed as Louis XIV's identical twin.[4] Dumas also presented a review of the popular theories about the prisoner extant in his time in the chapter "L'homme au masque de fer" in the sixth volume of his non-fiction Crimes Célèbres.[5]"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_Iron_Mask

    Of course the parallel of Jim´s captivity with the destiny of the unlucky twin brother of Louis XIV in Dumas novel is intentional. It´s in fact an acid comment on racism. Both suffer unjustly, both are held captive by their luckier brothers and none of the both is allowed to show his real face.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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