The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn



Mark Twain had an obvious love for the river, and had spent considerable time on the Mississippi River. Born in 1835 as Samuel Clemens, Twain achieved renowned for his short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, as well as for his travel diaries. He turned to writing for a career following the success of these works, and he drew upon his knowledge of the river for much of it. In fact, Twain had been a riverboat pilot in his younger days—an experience that would serve him well when he began working on Life on the Mississippi (1883) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), which itself was the sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876. His knowledge of life on the river combined with his cynical outlook on human nature produced the satirical Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, advancing the childlike innocence captured in Tom Sawyer to the next level of fiction, through which Twain could comment on the various societal ills that affected his day and age.

Twain lived the latter part of his career comfortably in Hartford, Connecticut. He had married Olivia Langdon in 1870, three years before the move to Hartford. They had four children, three girls and a boy. The boy died just before his second birthday.

Twain was a frequent lecturer, an occupation which helped him earn money with which he could pay his financial debts. His wit and ability to be both subtly abusive and humorous won him many fans. His liberal friends helped him to embrace a caustic view of the conventional American life, and his wide and extensive travels broadened his vision of mankind in general.

What Twain intended to do with his sequel to Tom Sawyer was not quite clear even in his own mind when he began the work. Essentially, he was undecided as to whether it should proceed in the fashion of Sawyer, or whether it should be a vehicle through which he could express his views on society in a sharply critical manner. For this reason, the book appears to have three...

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