Huck Finn


bulletauthor background information
bullethistorical context (setting of novel, banning)
bulletMississippi River facts
bulletdevelopment of the novel affecting Twain's TONE 


Slavery and Racism

The Contrast Between Civilization and the Wild

The Contrast Between Social Norms and Honest Morality


What indications are there throughout the book of Huck's morality?

Is Jim a static or dynamic character? Explain your answer with support and illustrations from the text.

Discuss the role of each of the father figures in Huck's life: Pap, Jim, Judge Thatcher, the duke, and the king.

Discuss the use of weather to foreshadow events and to add mood to scenes throughout the book.

Research the attitudes of the general citizen and the stance of the American government, especially those of the South, on slavery and the treatment of blacks during the time period of this novel.

List examples of Huck's quick wit and ability to stay calm in tense situations.

Sort the novel into separate episodes, analyzing the merits and overall plot development of each, as well as how these episodes appeal to the reader.

List, compare, and contrast Twain's use of allusions with the actual titles alluded to including: Shakespeare's Hamlet, King Richard III, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet.

Refute or support the argument that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should not be read by young adults or that the material should be restricted to certain readers.

Identify and examine the different dialects spoken by the characters in the novel. Using a linguistic approach, compare and contrast the dialects of multiple characters throughout the novel.

Discuss the significance of Twain's use of satire in the following situations and rank the influence of each upon the reader:

bulletsentimentality and gullibility
bulletthe average man
bulletromantic literature with its mournful subject matter in poetry and its ridiculous plots in novel
bulleta code of honor that results in needless bloodshed
bulletreligious dogma


What can the reader expect in a story told from first-person point of view?

Describe the setting as it is established in the first chapter.

What evidence is presented to establish Huck as a youth rather than an adult?

What exposition is provided by Huck, which he claims is the prequel to this story?

How does Twain establish Huck Finn as a mischievous rascal?

How does Twain incorporate humor through point of view in this chapter?

What evidence of Huck's own superstitious nature does Twain show the reader at the end of the chapter?


How does the author create suspense at the start of the chapter?

How does Twain use sentence structure in the following passage to emphasize the point of view and characterization of Huck Finn?  "Everybody was willing...never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever."


Describe how Huck Finn changes his opinion of Tom Sawyer as this chapter develops.

Explain the significance of the woods to Huck's life.

List and briefly explain the misrepresentation up until this chapter that Tom Sawyer beli9eves to be the truth.


What is Huck's reaction to the footprints, and what coulde the reader infer about the future plot of the story using his reaction as evidence?

Speculate why Huck gives all of his money to Judge Thatcher.

How does this chapter depict Jim as Huck's confidante? Why is this relationship is successful?

Why does Huck trust the magic hairball's advice more than Jim's?

What example of foreshadowing does Twain us in the chapter?


How does Twain express his skepticism toward men who claim to be "reformed" and those who push to "reform" others?


How does the foreshadowing in Chapter 4 come to a resolution at the beginning of Chapter 6?

What is ironic about Pa's holding Huck against his will?

How does Twain create humor in the tense situation of Pa's drunken rage in the cabin?

How does Twain begin to question the morality of slavery in this chapter?


How is suspense created in this chapter?

Describe the examples of imagery used at the end of this chapter.


Explain how Twain's experience as a riverboat captain and the writing technique of local color enhance the exposition of this chapter.

What satire about religion does Huck offer in this chapter?

List and summarize the situations of superstitions mentioned in this chapter.

How is Jim portrayed as a stereotypical Southern slave in this chapter?


Explain the significance of the Mississippi Valley's caves and caverns in the story thus far.

How does the weather contrast with the mood of Jim and Huck at the start of this chapter?

Identify the figurative devices used in this paragraph "We spread the blankets inside for a carpet... long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know."

Although some critics find fault with what they consider to be Twain's "heavy-handed" use of such figurative and sound devices, what effect does he create with this language?

In what way does Jim assume a father-like role to Huck at the end of the chapter temporarily establishing him as a foil to Pap?


How does Huck's view of superstition evolve over the course of this chapter?

What does the following paragraph indicate about the development of Huck's character "Jim sucked and sucked at the jug...I'd druther been bit with a snake then Pap's whisky."

How does Huck's dressing up as a girl help to establish his independence as a character?


Hypothesize why the reward for Pap is only two hundred dollars and the reward for Jim is three hundred dollars given that Pap is suspected as Huck's killer.

What theme is Twain building in this chapter when Huck chooses not to turn Jim in for the reward money?


What do the events of this chapter suggest about Huck's personal development?

What purpose does this chapter serve?


Identify the hyperbole in the first paragraph of this chapter and explain why it is used here.

How does Twain, again, portray Huck Finn as a boy of quick wits

In previous chapters, Huck refers to Tom Sawyer as a role model by asking himself, "What would Tom Sawyer do?" Explain another role model presented in the chapter, as well as the situation and significance around this reference.

Explain the pun in the last sentence of this chapter "By the time I got there the sky was beginning to get a little gray in the East; so we struck for an island, and hid the raft, and sunk in the skiff, and turned in and slept like dead people."


What is the purpose of this chapter?

In what way is Jim's ignorance obvious through the course of the conversation?


What does Huck do at the end of this chapter that was surprising in the historical and social context of the book? Why is this a turning point for Huck and Jim's friendship?


What is the internal conflict developed in this chapter?

How does Huck's moral conflict reach a climax in Chapter 16?

How does the chapter end?


Describe how the character of Buck Grangerford could be a foil to Huck Finn.

What is the purpose of the long passages in the chapter describing the Grangerford house?

What is the author's purpose in the lengthy passages about Emmeline Grangerford?


Explain why this chapter creates a framework story in the novel.

In describing Buck's attack on Harney and the Grangerford/Sheperdson feud, what social point is Twain expressing?

What is ironic about the Grangerfords' and Sheperdsons' attending church?

Explain how the first person point of view naturally omits a main character from the majority of this chapter and the previous chapter. How does this affect the reader's interpretation of the novel?

What event makes Huck want to leave the Grangerford property? When does he finally feel safe again?


What effect does Twain achieve with the personification at the beginning of this chapter?

Explain the intent of the imagery appealing to all five senses Twain uses at the beginning of this chapter.

Contrast Jim's and Huck's reactions to the duke and the king.


How does Twain again use weather to emphasize the mood and rising action of a conflict?

What is Twain suggesting by having the king and the duke pull their first "con" at a religious revival?

How does Twain continue the lightened mood of the chapter in the last few lines?

What solution to a complication of the plot is temporarily solved in the chapter?


Use evidence to explain how Twain characterizes the Arkansas townspeople.

What is the author's purpose in portraying the townspeople as he does?

Why is Twain using the events involving the king and the duke to blur the lines between the comic and the dramatic?


What is ironic about Huck's not understanding the stunt with the drunken horseman at the circus? Why does Twain include this episode in this chapter?

How does the chapter create a mild amount of suspense, leaving the reader with hope for the con artists?


How is the "success" of the duke's and king's second advertised play Twain's final jab at the town?

What effect does Twain create through the story of Jim's deaf daughter?

What epiphany does Huck have in this chapter that advances his inner conflict?


How does Huck's opinion of the king and duke contrast with his previous opinions?

What does the king's conversation on the steamboat foreshadow?


What is the primary source of suspense in this chapter?

Why does Twain seem to always portray the con men's victims as either greedy or foolish themselves?


How does the description of the house contribute to the characterization of the three daughters? How are they different from the Grangerfords?

What is the literal meaning of Huck's expression, "I see I was up a stump?"

What narrative purpose does Huck's eavesdropping on the conversation between the king and the duke serve?


With what bit of dark humor does Twain begin this chapter?

How does Twain continue to question the morality of slavery in this chapter?


How does this chapter illustrate growth on Huck's part?

Explain the significance of Huck's statement at the end of this chapter " I judged I had done it pretty neat...not being brung up to it."


What darkly comic elements does Twain use in this chapter?

How does the weather in the graveyard scene contribute to the mood?

How do Huck's emotions range during the course of this chapter?


Explain how this chapter is the resolution of the Wilks framework story?

The king and the duke make amends and indulge in drinks. What is Twain probably suggesting by having these characters take to drinking?

What single incident proves the king and the duke to be nearly as stupid as the townspeople?


What does the king and duke's selling Jim signify?

How does this event advance Huck's moral conflict?

What is the outcome of this conflict?

Part of Twain's artistry is to attack something while not appearing to be attacking it. Explain how he does this in this chapter.


How does the setting contribute to the mood at the beginning of this chapter?

What white attitude of the time does Twain attack in Huck's conversation with Aunt Sally? What theme does this reinforce?

How does Twain use coincidence to further his development of the character of Huck?


What is ironic about Tom Sawyer's agreeing to help Huck free Jim?

Identify Aunt Sally's malapropism in the dialogue that follows and explain how it contributes humor to the scene "No - not impudent whelps...give me that smack."

Why is the title "The Pitiful Ending of Royalty" significant to this chapter?


Using evidence from this chapter, contrast Tom's and Huck's ideas of social morality. How does this contribute to the characterization of these two characters?

How does Twain add complications to the plot by having the boys accept Tom's plan rather than Huck's?


How does the return of Tom to the story, Chapters 34-43, result in a change of tone and mood?

Tom's elaborate plans can be seen as merely a child's imagination filled with incidents from books. However, Twain makes a pointed attack in this planning. Where is it directed?


What evidence does this chapter provide that the plan to release Jim is little more than a game to Tom?

Analyze the change in Huck's character with the re-entry of Tom Sawyer into the story.


What situations does Twain use to create a light-hearted mood in this chapter?

Compare and contrast the character of Nat to Jim.


Analyze the relationship between Tom Sawyer and Jim.

What is significant about Tom wanting Jim to have a snake in the cell with him?

Explain Jim's willingness to go along with Tom's foolishness.


How does Twain begin to build the climax of Jim's escape plan by using the element of suspense?

How has the entire episode of attempting to free Jim contributed to Twain's theme of moral ambiguity?


Explain the verbal irony in Huck's statement "We was all glad as we could be, but Tom was the gladdest of all because he had a bullet in the calf of his leg."

What startling revelation does Huck come to regarding Jim?


How does Twain create pathos in this chapter?

How does Twain continue to develop Huck's character as a thoughtful, caring person?


In this chapter, how does Twain explain Tom's earlier willingness to aid in Jim's escape?

How does Tom's revealed knowledge of Miss Watson's will complete the theme of moral ambiguity?


How do the past conversations between Jim and Huck about hairy bodies being good luck foreshadow the result of this chapter?

Why did Jim keep the dead man's identity a secret from Huck.

Throughout the story, the river represents peace, happiness, and freedom. The towns represent rules, boredom, and sometimes cruelty and treachery. In the last paragraph of the novel, which does Huck say is preferable? What is Twin's purpose for this?

What is Twain's purpose in revealing in this last chapter that Jim has been a free man through almost the entire time span of the novel?