Huck Finn is a classic American novel that explores the grim realities of slavery as seen through the eyes of a uniquely likeable 12-year-old boy. A novel that has been banned in many high schools in the U.S., Huck Finn is an adventure story, but there is something deeper going on as well. Through Huck’s story, Mark Twain, the author, is also ridiculing the flaws of Huck’s society. Watch how Twain causes you to feel disgusted, annoyed, or amused by certain characters. They are the butt of his jokes and will become the topic of our discussions.
Requirements: Make sure you have the edition of Huck Finn shown above. Divide your reading into 10 roughly equal segments and record a written response after each section of reading in a composition notebook (pictured above), which is a notebook that does not have the spiral binding (10 total entries). This journal will be collected the first week of school. Each entry should begin with the date, title of the novel, page you have read to by that date, and a response. Strive to write a half page minimum (single-spaced) for each entry. This response should be a quote you appreciate or want to remember or find significant, your reactions to what has happened in the plot, observations about the characters, questions that have been raised in your mind, issues you might choose to research later on, and even memories this story brings to mind. Anything you write will help as you make sense of the story and make connections with the characters; however, THIS SHOULD NOT BE A SUMMARY. Plot summaries will earn a zero. Be sure to find 10 quotes that you believe are important and mark them in your book and write them into your journal by the time school starts. An essay and/or test over Huck Finn will be given in August as well. If you struggle with the reading, please try an audio book to help you.
Composition 1 Students ONLY: Before you begin Huck Finn, read the Preface, Introduction, Chapter 1, and Chapter 19 in How to Read Literature Like a Professor. Although Foster uses MANY novels as examples, and this may feel overwhelming at first, look for the main points of each chapter. Then, as you read Huck Finn, compare Huck’s journey to Foster’s ideas about quests and settings. At least one journal entry above should process how the information in these chapters from Foster’s book are illuminating to your understanding of Huck Finn.
For a history of the n-word: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/teachers/huck/section1_2.html
For a glimpse into the controversy: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/huckleberry-finn-and-the-n-word-debate/
As a reminder, students need to be prepared to turn in their journals on the first day of class in order to be graded for this 120-point assignment. If you lose your book, purchase a new one with this ISBN #978-1-58049-583-7. You will need your book for class discussion and writing assignments in August.