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Huckleberry Finn Project

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Huckleberry Finn Project - Page Text Content

BC: The End

FC: Huckleberry Finn Project | by Samantha Washko

1: Table of Contents | Overview of the Era..............................3 Issues of Slavery...................................5 Character Representation of Huck......7 Character Representation of Jim.........8 Theme of Conforming to Society.........9 Society Represented in Literature......11 Essential Question: What Role Has Literature Played in Defining the American Dream?...............................13

2: Characteristics of the Pre-Civil War Period | Western Expansionism: with the idea of Manifest Destiny (it was our God-given right to expand), America branched out into California, Oregon, New Mexico, and Texas.

3: Industrialization was a main focus as we went from making everything at home to the factory system. The 1st transportation revolution, bringing a new series of canals and the steamboat, made commerce easier and quicker than ever before. The 2nd transportation revolution (railroads) also played a major part.

4: Issues of Slavery | Tension rose over the balance of slave and free states, especially in the recently added territories such as California. Many Americans were completely against the extension of slavery. Others wanted popular sovereignty, to let the people of each territory decide.

5: Compromise of 1850: CA admitted as a free state, slave trade banned in DC, Utah & New Mexico decided by popular sovereignty, strict fugitive slave law (escaped slaves and even free blacks could be brought back into slavery from the North) passed Tension rose, climaxing in 1860, when Lincoln, who was strongly against slavery, was elected president. South Carolina soon seceded, followed by many other Southern states.

6: Character Representations | Huck | -protagonist and narrator -uneducated son of an alcoholic -dynamic and round -doesn't want to be "civilized" -loves adventure -clever and mischievous -ultimately draws his morals from his own experiences, not from society (helps an escaped slave be free because he realizes what a good friend Jim is, in spite of what society thinks about blacks)

7: Jim | -round and static -slave who escapes because he's going to be sold down the river -very superstitious -very loyal and a good friend to Huck -not formally educated, but very resourceful -level-headed in times of trouble -very courageous

8: Major Theme: Conforming to Society | The theme of conforming to society is seen a lot throughout the novel. In the beginning, Huck is "being civilized" living with the widow, and hates it. His Pap is strongly against society, and instills this in Huck when the two live together. Huck rebels even against this. He breaks free and runs away, faking his own death. In running away, he helps an escaped slave, an act clearly against societal standards.

9: On the raft, Huck and Jim seem to have their own world, free from society's rules. Huck realizes that Jim is a good and loyal friend, contrary to society's beliefs about blacks. The theme surmounts in a major internal conflict for Huck, as he struggles with the issue of whether or not to turn Jim in. Ultimately, he goes with what he knows is right in his heart over what society dictates, refusing to conform. The theme shows that society's beliefs, especially during this time, have often been flawed, and ultimately, we should never conform over something we know is morally wrong.

10: The Jungle - shows how literature reflects the reforms needed in society -showed the exploitation of workers -exposed sanitation issues in the meatpacking industry -both were very real issues in society at that time | Society Reflected in Literature

11: Negro Spirituals - show the expression of emotions by slaves in the time period -only way for slaves to communicate their deeper feelings and sadness -metaphors like "reaching the promised land" reflect their longing to be free

12: Essential Question: What Role Has Literature Played in Defining the American Dream? | Literature keeps us dreaming for the future and defines what we think of as "American". When we see distinctly American characters in books, such as Huck going down the river carefree and happy, we want to be like them. This contributes to the American dream-the desire to live our own lives and gain opportunities.

13: For example, Huckleberry Finn portrayed two very different people, both from bad situations (Huck from and abusive, alcoholic father and Jim from slavery) who made a new life for themselves and experienced opportunities they never would have seen otherwise. Their independence and adventure help instill in us the belief that anyone can take charge of their own life, an essential part of the American Dream. This also defined the American Dream as something that all Americans, not just privileged ones, have a chance at.

14: Sources: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, AP US History class, my lovely literary analysis skills and gift for writing much more than needed

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  • By: Samantha W.
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  • Title: Huckleberry Finn Project
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