sábado, 29 de marzo de 2014

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (6/50)

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was born in november 1835, in Missouri. His family settled in Mississippi. He left Mississippi when he was 18 and became a printer's apprentice in 1847 after his father's death. He experienced different kinds of careers: he was printer and after some months became a licensed pilot. The civil war started in 1861; hence he became an army volunteer. After trying many professional sector he begun to write; his first book appeared in 1869. In 1870 he married Olivia Langdon. "The Adventures of Hucleberry Finn" was published in 1885. Initially thought as a simultaneous text for Tom Sawyer, it took 7 years to write it and is widely quoted in North American literature.

The book there are several kinds of dialects: Missouri Negro, the extremest form of South-Western, the ordinary "Pike County", and four modifications of the last one. At the begining, there is a comment warning the reader: "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

The text is about Huckleberry Finn and his adventures. However, the title has already told it. Huckleberry Finn is a boy who lives with a widow who always tries to "civilize" him; however his childish and aventurer spirit makes him change his life and search new stories. At the begining there is an introduction about the preceding story: Huck and Tom found money (6000 US) that robbers had hid in a cave. Judge Thatcher took it and put it out an interest: it gave the boys a dollar a day apiece. The widow Douglas adopted Huck and tryed to civilize him. He could not stand it and  Tom Sawyer invited him to join "a band" but asked Huck to return to the widows' house and Finn did it. Tom Sawyer had plans to rob but they were inside his mind, actually robbed people too.

The book is told in first persona by Huck himself. Jim is a nigger with many superstitions and Tom a boy with big imagination. He told huck they are going to stop carriages on the road, with masks ,kill people and rob their watches and money. After a month playing the robbers, Huck felt disappointed and resigned: they had neither killed anybody, norrobbed somebody, just pretended.

Huckelberry's father is an alcoholic man, violent and interested in the boy's fortune. Actually, he tries to fight legally for Huck and get all the money he has saved by Thatcher Judge. This unkind man talks about the supremacy of white men; actually, he feels anger when he is told about a mulatter well dressed, with education and able to vote.

When delirium tremens conquered the mind of Pap (Huck's father) he felt fearful of devils. He threatened Huck with weapons and called him Angel of Death. Tired of violence and threatening behaviors, Huck plans escaping. He kills a savage pig and simulates his own death.

While he is trying to leave Miss Watson and his father, he sleeps in the woods. Suddenly, he finds Jim, Watson's nigger. He also escaped because he had been accused of Huck's death and he feared to be sold in Orleans. Together, they paddled all over an island and one night found a dead man on a dark house. Hence, Jim did not allow Huck to see the man's face.

Jim told Huck about Cairo river and how it could mean his fredoom. However, Huck felt ashamed because he considered freeing Jim would harm Miss Watson. They did not know how far Cairo was so they decided to ask someone near the place where they navigated. A very unkind man rejects Huck questions.

A big steamboat neared Jim and Huck in the night. Finn searched for Jim but some dogs followed him and triyed to catch him. In an old fashioned house he meets people who treat him like part of the Grangerford family. He knew about one of the Grangerford girls: she died because she got sick; however, she could have been a great poet if she had not.

There were two clans of aristocracy: Grangerfords and Shepherdsons; both used the same steamboat landing. They have a great rivaltry, actually, they kill each other endlessly. Harney (a Shepherdson) and Sophia (a Grangerford) were in love. They try to escape but hate follows them and are killed. When Huck sees the bodies he decides to leave and follow another adventure.  

Huck find Jim again when leaving; they together navigated again. In the road two men begged to be carried in the raft. They said they were followed by men and dogs, although Huck did not hear any of those things. They allowed the men to navigate with them and heard the noises of shootings and dogs. Afterwards, they identify like "the king" and "the duke".

The duke proposed going to a printing office. The arrived but it was not waht they expected so the king and Huck walked until they found a thousand people hearing a preacher. The king asked the preacher to allow him to talk, he agreed. The king said he was a pirate who had found the way of god and wanted to convince other pirates to became members of the right way to live. Lots of people gave him money. In another town, the king and the duke try to play a Shakespiere piece; however, it is not popular. They play a comedy and the town loves it.

In one of the populations where the men arrived, the king was able to get information about the people of that place. The king and the duke say they are relatives of a dead man. Actually, they tell very specific details that the inhabitants believe them; however, they want to rob the money the man left for his orphans.

Huck falls in love with one of the orphans, Mary Jane, a red headed girl. He decides to steal the money in order to give it back to its owners. When people begin to suspect about the king, one lawyer and one doctor made questions that made other realize the king and the duke were lying. The king stated the dead man had a sing on the chest that looked like a blue arrow. Everyone knew it was not true. Hence, the four men had to escape again.

Huck finds Tom Sawyer again but Jim has been caught. Tom plans to free the nigger based on the book stories he has read; he is obsessed with Louis XVI. Jim is obliged to live with snakes, spiders and rats; to write prision letters and escape in a literary way. Jim, Tom and Huck can escape but Tom get injured. Huck must tell the truth and find a doctor. Jim is slave again, Tom healed and Huck beloved; however, he is worried about Pap. Hence, Jim told him the dead man on the house was Huck's father.

This is a book about adventure, freedom, slavery, racism, feudalism, aristocracy and USA before the civil war... Told by a boy.

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