The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) 


Mark Twain, Chapters Nine to Sixteen, pp. 59- 116 

Section 1: What is Huck's Situation at the beginning of the action?

Section 2: What is the relation between Huck's situation and America's situation in 1876?

Section 3: What does Huck need? What psychological obstacles stand in his way? How can they be overcome? What new morality is Huck learning from Jim?

Huck's Escape:

  • (the river's 'June rise') (43)
  • (Huck stages his own murder) (45-46)
  • Freedom: The River (Voices on the River) (Pap Swings By) (46-47)
  • Jackson's Island (River Search for Huck's 'remainders') (50) (cannon blasts and quicksilver)
  • 'Pap, and Judge Thatcher, and Bessie Thatcher, and Jo Harper, and Tom Sawyer, and his old Aunt Polly, and Sid and Mary, and plenty more' float by. (52)
  • lonesome (53)
- Deconstructing Race: How have Huck's attitudes about blacks been formed? (conscience)

- Jim and Huck on Jackson's Island (Twain's use of the uncanny to represent psychological states. See Freud on "The Uncanny".)

- Jim and Huck on the Big River (Mood shift)

  • Life on the River (75): Passing St. Louis at night; stealing mushmelons and chickens
  • Slave Morality (vs. conventional morality) (75-76) Is right and wrong as simple as the Widow Douglas would have it when she says that stealing is always wrong?
  • The Wrecked Steamboat Walter Scott (76-81): What is happening on it? What kind of folk do they run into every time the raft brushes up against civilization? How do Huck and Jim escape? Why does Huck decide to save the rapscallions on the boat? (81) Twain's point?
  • Huck's Orphan Story #2: about pap and mam and sis and Miss Hooker stranded on the Walter Scott.
  • Huck and Jim on King Sollermun and 'dat chile dat he 'uz gwyne to chop in two' (87) What is the point of this Bible story? What is Jim's interpretation of it? Why does Twain include this story at this moment in Huck's development?
  • What is Jim's problem with "Polly-voo-franzy"? (89-90) (Isn't it strange that a Duke and Dauphin will join Huck and Jim on the raft a little farther dowriver? What is Twain up to?)

- To Cairo and Beyond (Huck's Crisis: Fog and Lies) (How long can this friendship last?)

  • Cairo and the Ohio River! (91) Jim realizes that he has passed Cairo only at the end of the next chapter. (Realization)
  • What prevents Huck and Jim from finding the mouth to the Ohio River? Interpret the symbolism of The Fog (92) What is the most terrifying aspect of it? What is it like for Huck to be lost in it?
  • How does Huck feel when he is reunited with Jim (93) 
  • "Is I me, or who is I?"
  • Jim discovers Huck's Lie About the Fog (95) What distance does Huck still have to travel to have a real relationship? How can he get there?
    • "It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way."
  • Huck's First Crisis of Conscience (110)
    •  Jim talks with great excitement about what he plans to do once he has gotten to the free territories.
    • "... he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children.... saying he would steal his children -- children that belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever done me no harm. Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children -- children that belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever done me no harm. I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of him." (111)
    • (Tina Morrison on her childhood bi-racial friendships.)
    • (Huck's lie about the Smallpox.) (111) What is Huck's conclusion about right and wrong?
    • Cairo Passed (114)
    • The Raft is Smashed  (115)

Section 3: What does Huck need? What psychological obstacles stand in his way? How can they be overcome? What new morality is Huck learning?